|Scorecard:||Somerset v Australians|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2013|
DateLine: 29th June 2013
Somerset v Australians
John Ward at Taunton, day 2
Close of play: Somerset (318) v Australians (266/4)
Another large crowd of perhaps six thousand were at the Taunton County Ground to watch the Australians bat on the second day of their match against Somerset. They had some good cricket to entertain them as, despite some good bowling by the home side, the Australian batsmen responded well and batted very positively. The leading light was Shane Watson, celebrating the confidence of his coach Darren Lehmann in naming him as opening batsman for the Test matches with a powerful innings of 90.
Australia began the day at 2 without loss, having faced just one over the previous evening. Off the sixth ball of the day they lost the wicket of Ed Cowan for 3, who was given out caught at the wicket from a ball moving away from him, bowled by Gemaal Hossain, and leaving the crease with extreme reluctance.
Watson was soon into his stride at the other end, hammering three defiant fours, and this was the mood he maintained throughout the morning session. The bowling from Jamie Overton and Hossain was good in quality, several times coming close to taking another early wicket, but the batsmen were able to keep the runs flowing at the rate of about five an over, with Watson leading the charge, always looking for the boundary and letting the singles take care of themselves.
With the total on 78 he lost Usman Khawaja, who was squared up by a ball from Craig Meschede and caught in the slips for 27. Shortly afterwards he reached his fifty, off 56 balls, and 44 of his runs came from boundaries, scored mainly off the back foot. Almost to the end he was on course for a possible century before lunch but, five minutes before the break, he was caught at extra cover off Overton, from a leading edge. He departed for 90, scored off 95 balls with 20 fours, and the Australians were 147 for three.
Michael Clarke was not at his most scintillating, but after so long out of the game he clearly wanted to play himself back into Test-match form. He scored 45, waiting for the right ball to hit, until he eventually chose a wrong one at 45, fishing outside the off stump to one from Craig Meschede that move away a little, and edging it to the keeper; 212 for four.
Then came another steady partnership as Brad Haddin joined Phil Hughes. Both batted well without looking to tear the bowling apart, although Haddin played a few very powerful strokes, including a meaty straight six off George Dockrell. Hughes was quietly efficient, quite fluent but without imposing himself. But the rain was approaching, and as a slight drizzle gradually worsened the players left the field five minutes before the usual time for tea to be taken.
The light rain continued to fall, so no more play was possible. With their score now at 266 for four wickets, with Hughes on 44 and Hadden on 38, the tourists have all to play for and will be anticipating a victory, weather permitting, to boost their morale, leaving Somerset to view the dismal collapse of their lower order in the first innings that lost them the initiative.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 John Ward)