|Scorecard:||Somerset v Durham|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2013|
DateLine: 9th June 2013
Somerset v Durham
John Ward at Taunton, day 4
Close of play: Somerset (458 and 266/8 dec) drew with Durham (493).
Some anaemic second-innings batting from Somerset gave some hope that a likely draw might be turned into a result, but a determined innings of 83 not out from the 21-year-old Alex Barrow saw them save the day. After losing their first five batsmen for 135 runs, Somerset found their saviour in Barrow, who batted for almost three and a half hours for his highest first-class score and frustrated Durham in their vain quest for victory.
The day started with Somerset, having just started their second innings after conceding a deficit of 35 runs on the first, were 7 without loss. It was obvious from the start that they had only a draw in mind, but Durham were still hoping for an unlikely victory. The crowd shared their team’s pessimism and, after possibly a thousand a day attended the first three days’ play, only one or two hundred came for Saturday’s play, despite entrance being free, if unadvertised.
Nick Compton, given the featherbed pitch, no doubt had thoughts of scoring two centuries in the same match, but, with 18 to his credit, was hooked and was caught at fine leg off Mark Wood, the opening stand having put on 43 runs. His partner, Marcus Trescothick, did not last much longer; he swept at a ball from Scott Borthwick and dragged it on to his stumps for 25.
The slide continued. Arul Suppiah pushed a firm catch to silly mid-on off Ryan Buckley for 19, while James Hildreth (1) tamely prodded a catch to slip off Borthwick. Dean Elgar was not at all convincing early on, and survived a sharp chance to leg-slip, or there would have been five wickets down at lunch, when the score instead was 125 for four.
Elgar did not last long after the break, pushing at a ball from Wood outside his off stump and edging to slip for 31 – the highest score of any of the top five in the over. It was fortunate that Alex Barrow, who has a reputation for getting out around the twenties, came through for the team this time. He feasted on a number of short-pitched balls, displaying a fierce pull stroke, and ran to his fifty off 103 balls.
His partner during a stand of 83 for the sixth wicket was Peter Trego, who played aggressively for 38 before Ben Stokes trapped him lbw. Craig Meschede fell to a catch at the wicket off Graham Onions for four, and at tea Somerset were 234 for seven, a lead of 199 and not far off safety.
Durham were still pressing hard for victory, and Onions burst through the defences of George Dockrell, bowling him for 4. Runs and wickets were coming slowly, but the minutes went by at their usual speed, too fast for Durham. As Jamie Overton settled in with Barrow, they lost their intensity and mentally accepted a draw. Somerset declared at ten minutes to five to end the match, with the noble Barrow unbeaten on 83. Once again the notorious Taunton pitch had claimed a draw.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 John Ward)