Somerset v Durham: Day 2 Report
by John Ward

Scorecard:Somerset v Durham

DateLine: 24th May 2012


Somerset v Durham
At Taunton, Day 2
Close of play: Durham 384; Somerset 357/8.

At the end of the second day, the match between Durham and Somerset was very well balanced. The home side had five batsmen who passed 40 during the day, but none who went on to make even 70, so they may have missed a trick there; however, Peter Trego is still at the crease and he has the opportunity to seize an advantage on the third morning, given support from his last two partners.


Durham began the day at 353 for eight wickets, with Liam Plunkett and Jamie Harrison at the crease on 7 and 3 respectively. Plunkett began very dourly, taking almost half an hour over a single, while Harrison was more aggressive until he sliced a low catch into the gully off Peter Trego, departing for 18. With the last man Steve Harmison at the crease, Plunkett began to open up, hitting some impressive off-side drives in particular, including two in succession off Alfie Thomas. But Thomas then had him caught at the wicket for 24 to end the innings with the total 384.


It was not a bad effort for Somerset, considering the threadbare nature of the attack: Vernon Pnhilander was unexpectedly recalled by South Africa for their A team, while several other bowlers are suffering from a wide variety of injuries. The most successful of the remnant playing in this match was Trego, with three for 90.


Somerset soon lost the wicket of Arul Suppiah, trapped lbw by the left-arm Harrison from Cumbria for 4. This brought in Nick Compton, needing at the start of his innings 131 to reach his thousand for the season. Compton played himself in with great care for a few overs, and then began to work the ball skilfully around the field with apparent ease. By lunch the score had reached 66 for one.


The opening batsman Alan Barrow fell to the fourth ball after the interval, aghast to be caught down the leg side flicking at a wayward ball from Harmison. This was the former England fast bowler's first championship match for almost a year, and he still looked rather rusty, although producing a few vicious deliveries at times.


James Hildreth was in cracking form, hitting a flurry of boundaries and pulling a ball from Harmison for six. He overtook Compton in the thirties and raced to his fifty off only 35 balls, taking just over 40 minutes. He didn't last much longer, though, being bowled by Harrison for 53 as he drove rather recklessly over a yorker. He faced 39 balls, hitting ten fours and a six, but this was more of a one-day innings than a championship knock. Somerset were now 138 for three.


Soon after being joined by Craig Keiswetter, Compton reached his fifty, which took him 91 balls. A good partnership seemed to be developing as the pair put on 61, but then Compton fell for 64 (121 balls); he tried to pull a ball from Ian Blackwell that hurried on to him and hit a fairly easy catch to midwicket. The score was now 199 for four, compiled off only 43 overs. It was entertaining batting for a crowd of over a thousand basking in the sun, but Somerset needed an innings of real substance, especially bearing in mind their weakened bowling attack.


Jos Butler was unable to provide it; he aimed a flashing cut at the third ball he faced, from Blackwell, and was caught at the wicket without scoring. Keiswetter did not let the mishaps at the other end cramp his style and he continued to attack the bowling at the rate of about a run a ball; however, Callum Thorp trapped him lbw for 42 off 41 balls, much to the batsmanís disgust. The score had now slipped to 209 for six. Peter Trego survived with Craig Overton until tea, when the score was 237.


In the final session this seventh-wicket partnership flourished, with Overton the dominant partner. He showed fluent, confident strokeplay with a good variety of shots, although he had a momentís anxiety on 47 when he skied a ball towards third man, but the fielder was unable to reach it in time. This quietened him briefly, but he successfully reached his maiden fifty, which came off only 53 balls. Losing concentration, he poked a catch to the keeper off Harrison without addition to his score; the partnership had yielded 99 and Somerset were 308 for seven.


Trego was stuck on 49 for quite a while before completing his half-century off 87 balls. Soon afterwards Blackwell tempted Thomas (18) into a fatal mishit, following which Trego and George Dockrell decided to play for the close, the former being unbeaten on 67. The match remained well balanced and with every prospect of an interesting finish. The Durham bowling appeared, like Somerset's, nothing more than persistent for most of the day, and the match could well be won by a batsman who decides he can amass a really big score. Durham's ground fielding was not always reliable and Somerset had some extra runs gifted them during the day.


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