Match Report | Somerset v Essex


Somerset v Essex
Specsavers County Championship
Sunday 19 August – Wednesday 22 August
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton

Somerset Team: Marcus Trescothick, Eddie Byrom, Azhar Ali, James Hildreth, Tom Abell (c), Steve Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Dom Bess, Josh Davey, Jamie Overton, Jack Leach.

Essex Team: Varun Chopra, Nick Browne, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate (c), Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Peter Siddle, Jamie Porter, Sam Cook.

Toss: Somerset, who elected to bat

Umpires: Ben Debenham & David Millns, James Middlebrook (replacement Umpire for David Millns due to illness on Day Two)

Day Three Reaction: Anthony McGrath


Day Three: Close of Play Report

Faced with what appeared to be a challenging quest of 336 for victory, Essex made an excellent start reaching the end of the Day Three on 147 for 1, with Nick Browne unbeaten on 75 and Tom Westley 43*.

Openers Browne and Varun Chopra had posted 58 before the latter was pinned in front of his stumps by Jack Leach for 24 but that was to be the last of the home side’s successes as bat commanded ball.

Browne and Westley both showed immaculate timing, driving on both sides of the crease with full authority and in uncomplicated fashion. Browne was fluent from the start and faced 93 balls, finding the ropes on 9 occasions on his way to a half-century.

It was the third time in successive innings that the left-hander had posted a score of 50 or more in the Championship this season and all three have come off the Somerset attack, having scored 66 and 75 in the fixture at Chelmsford at the end of June.

By the close, he had added another 4 boundaries to his tally having faced a total of 134 balls and having batted for 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Westley, who launched his innings with a confidence boosting boundary after his first innings duck, was commendably selective in his shot selection picking his way to seven fours in his 83 ball innings thus far.

Essex had been left a little over 4 sessions to achieve their target but the spin threat of left-arm Jack Leach and right-armer Dom Bess loomed large on a dry pitch.

But the Essex top-order overcame that potential menacing situation on the day.

Although the home side had enjoyed the better of the opening two days play, their opponents dug deep to show determination and character on the third day to bring themselves right back into a match that had looked to be drifting away from them.

It was the bowling of Simon Harmer, with chief assistance from Sam Cook and Peter Siddle that began the visitors resurgence. Off-spinner Harmer, bowling beautifully, drew assistance from the dry pitch as the West Country side were dismissed for 202 having started the day on 32 for 1.

Harmer teased out Ed Byrom for 42 with an lbw decision when the opener pushed forward and had Azhar Ali picked up by Ravi Bopara at leg slip for 23. The same combination claimed the dismissal of Somerset skipper Tom Abell for 27 before Harmer had Lewis Gregory well caught low down at first slip by Chopra for 11 in his next over on his way to figures of 4 for 69.

Byrom and Ali had posted a 52 runs stand for the third wicket but after they were parted, the remaining seven wickets realised just 117 runs. Siddle, a model of accuracy throughout, illustrated his incisive qualities when flattening the leg and middle stumps of James Hildreth before uprooting Jamie Overton’s middle stump to return figures of 2 for 49 although he deserved better having passed the bat on a number of occasions.

Cook (2 for 8 from 9 overs), having claimed the wicket of Marcus Trescothick the previous evening, found the breakthrough in the fourth over of the day when having Bess caught by the redoubtable Harmer.

Day Three: Tea Report

Chasing 336 for victory, Essex had reached 52 without loss at the interval after Somerset had been dismissed for 202 in their second innings. Nick Browne is unbeaten on 26 and Varun Chopra is 22 not out.

The home side lost their five remaining wickets after lunch for the addition of 75 runs with Simon Harmer picking up two more victims to finish with 4 for 69 whilst the other three wickets went to Jamie Porter, Peter Siddle and Tom Westley who struck with the second ball of his first over.

Resuming on 127 for 5, Tom Abell was caught in the leg-gulley trap by Ravi Bopara for 27 when facing Harmer’s off-spin, and although Lewis Gregory opted for the aggressive approach against Siddle, hitting a 6 and a 4 in one over, he was back in the pavilion soon after when Harmer ended his exuberance by having him superbly caught low down at slip by Chopra.

That left Somerset 154 for 7 and 15 runs later, they lost another wicket.

Siddle, whose accuracy was impressive throughout, uprooted Jamie Overton’s middle stump.

When the Australian was given a rest, Westley was brought into the attack and his off spin trapped Jack Leach who prodded forward in-determinedly and was struck on the front pad to leave the home side 183 for 9.

Porter then returned and encouraged Steve Davies (29) to hook a ball into the waiting hands of Matt Quinn stationed at deep fine-leg and on the field for the unwell Bopara.

Siddle finished with 2 for 49, Sam Cook 2 for 23, Westley 1 for 8 and Porter 1 for 44.

The Essex quest to record their fourth win of the Championship season began at 3.14 p.m. leaving them with a little more than four sessions to reach a demanding total on a dry pitch.

Day Three: Lunch Report

Somerset extended their overall lead to 260 runs on the third morning of the County Championship clash with Essex at Taunton having reached the interval on 127 for 5 with Tom Abell unbeaten on 16 and Steve Davies 5 not out.

However, the honours in the morning session went to the visitors who captured four wickets whilst restricting their opponents to 94 runs to add to their overnight 32 for 1.

There were two wickets for the off-spin of Simon Harmer and one apiece for pacemen Peter Siddle and Sam Cook.

It was the latter who struck the first blow having night watchman Dom Bess caught by Harmer at second slip for 12 without addition to the score. Cook proved very economical and was he was replaced by Harmer in the attack, Cook had enjoyed figures of 9-5-8-2.

However, Azhar Ali took a shine to the bowling of Jamie Porter, collecting three boundaries in one over, an act that brought Siddle into action.

Harmer ended Ali’s fun when the batsman, still on 12, turned a delivery into the hands of Ravi Bopara in the leg gulley trap to leave the home side 85 for 3.

Eleven runs and four overs later, Harmer removed opener Ed Byrom (42) when he brought the batsman forward to gain the lbw verdict.

A straight drive by James Hildreth brought the total into three figures and then Abell twice found the ropes in an over against Harmer.

Then, with the total on 118, Siddle produced the delivery of the morning when Hildreth on 15, had his leg and middle stumps flattened.

The bowler was unfortunate not to have a further wicket when, with his next delivery, Adam Wheater was unable to hold onto a chance offered by Steve Davies.

At the interval, Siddle had taken 2 for 38, his 32nd wicket for the county across all formats this summer, whilst Harmer had 2 for 38 and Cook 2 for 8.

Day Two Reaction: Ryan ten Doeschate


Day Two: Close of Play Report

Essex face an uphill task if they are to emerge with anything other than three points from the match with Somerset at Taunton. This is after the home side ended the second day with an overall lead of 165 runs with nine second innings wickets intact.

The last three first innings wickets were lost for the addition of 16 runs at the start of the day and then dismissed their opponents for 191 before reaching the close on 32 for 1.

Ryan ten Doeschate was left to hold the visitors innings together after the top-five in the order managed only 72 runs between them and that included 28 for Dan Lawrence who provided the second highest score in a disappointing overall display by the current County Champions.

Lawrence and his skipper added 52 for the fifth wicket after Somerset had reduced Essex to 54 for 4 with Josh Davey claiming the scalps of Nick Browne and Tom Westley for 13 and 0, respectively.

Lewis Gregory pinned Varun Chopra in the crease for 16 before Jamie Overton found the edge to have Ravi Bopara well caught by wicket-keeper Steve Davies with the fourth delivery after lunch.

Bopara had looked in good nick before he departed for 15 to leave his side in serious trouble and still requiring a further 121 to avert the possibility of the follow-on.

On a pitch that had threatened from the start to offer spin assistance, the Somerset spin twins of Leach and Bess removed Adam Wheater for 10 and Simon Harmer for 4.

Peter Siddle was dropped at square leg off Bess with the score on 137 for 7 but accompanied ten Doeschate in a stand worth 37 during which time the latter brought up his second d Championship half-century of the summer.

The previous occasion was also against the West Country county when he went on to record an unbeaten 173 when the teams met at Chelmsford at the end of June before the Vitality Blast competition commenced.

Siddle eventually went for 12 to a slip catch when facing the spin of Azhar Ali with Essex still requiring one run to avert the follow-on but a single by ten Doeschate completed that task.

He was finally the ninth man out having posted 73 when trapped leg before by Overton to end his innings lasting just short of three hours and spanning 137 balls with 1 six and 7 fours.

Shortly after, Overton claimed Jamie Porter to leave the visitors 191 all out.

Left with 16 overs to face, the home side lost Marcus Trescothick to Sam Cook for 7 leaving Ed Byrom and nightwatchman Bess to play out time. They will resume on 10 and 11 respectively in the morning.

Earlier, Siddle grabbed two of the remaining three Somerset first innings wickets to end with figures of 5 for 80 and record his second 5-for of the season for the county.

In the afternoon session, former Yorkshire and Essex bowler James Middlebrook arrived to take over umpiring duties from local man John Wheeler who had been standing in for the indisposed David Millns.

Day One: Match Highlights

Day One Reaction: Peter Siddle


Day One: Close of Play Report

Somerset had reached 308 for 7 when bad light curtailed play on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Essex at Taunton.

Veteran opener Marcus Trescothick scored 95 before he became one of three victims for paceman Peter Siddle who ended the day with figures of 3 for 71 whilst there were two wickets for Jamie Porter that came at a cost of 75 runs.

Siddle bowled with typical energy throughout his 22 overs and was also deservedly rewarded with the wickets of Ed Byrom and Dom Bess.

Trescothick and Byrom opened the Somerset first innings with a partnership of 38 in 11 overs as the pair dealt mainly in boundaries before Byrom, on 16, flirted with a delivery and edged to Adam Wheater behind the stumps tlo give Siddle a wicket with his ninth delivery of the day.

Nest to go was Pakistan Test batsman Azhar Ali who made 17 before he fell victim to Simon Harmer when caught at short mid-wicket by Dan Lawrence to leave Somerset, who had won the toss, 63 for 2.

Trescothick though moved serenely on to his half-century having faced 83 balls of which he steered 10 to the boundary.

Then on the stroke of lunch, Jamie Porter left the morning’s honours even when he trapped James Hildreth for 9 with a delivery that was angled back into the right-hander.

Resuming the afternoon session on 104 for 3, the hosts and closest pursuers of leaders Surrey in the Division One table, added another 103 runs for the loss of just one wicket to take the initiative.

It was Trescothick that was to perish just 5 runs short of what would have been his 67th first-class century, when his old nemesis Siddle returned to the Essex attack and with his first delivery of a new spell, persuaded the former England opener to pull the ball to deep square leg where Nick Browne took the catch.

By the tea interval, Somerset skipper Tom Abell had also passed his half-century having faced 89 balls and arrived at the milestone with the eighth boundary of his innings.

It was Ravi Bopara, in his second over, who finally accounted for Abell (70) when the batsman pushed forward and edged behind. Meanwhile Harmer had bowled 19 overs unchanged at a cost of 50 runs before the new ball was taken immediately due and with the hosts 261 for 5.

It was just 5 overs old when Porter uprooted the middle stump of Steve Davies who had made 45 when he played down the wrong line and five overs later, Siddle struck for the third time in the day having Dom Bess picked up in the gully by Dan Lawrence for 8.

Two overs later, umpires David Millns and Ben Debenham conferred about the light and decided that play could not continue cutting four overs from the day’s play which will be added onto the day’s allocation on Day Two.

Day One: Tea Report

Marcus Trescothick fell just 5 runs short of what would have been his 67th first-class century as Somerset reached 207 for 4 at tea.

The home side lost just the one wicket in the afternoon’s play whilst adding 104 runs to their lunch score but the Essex attack would consider themselves unlucky not to have earned greater rewards,

Pacemen, Siddle and Sam Cook passed the bat on a number of occasions whilst off-spinner Simon Harmer also posed a number of questions for Trescothick and Tom Abell.

However, the pair proved resolute carrying their fourth wicket partnership onto 180 with a 76 runs stand until the fall of opener Trescothick.

The 42 year-old had reached 95 when the re-introduction of Siddle brought about his downfall when he pulled the first ball of a new spell to deep backward square leg where Nick Browne took the catch.

Trescothick had faced 158 balls of which 16 found the boundary having spent three and a half hours in the middle.

Skipper Tom Abell continued to play impressively timing the ball brought up his half-century having received 89 balls with his tenth four.

At tea, he was unbeaten on 59 with Steve Davies 5 not out.

Day One: Lunch Report

Veteran opener Marcus Trescothick posted an unbeaten half-century as Somerset reached 104 for 3 on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Essex at Taunton.

Peter Siddle, Simon Harmer and Jamie Porter each collected a wicket for the visitors after the home side had won the toss and elected to bat on a firm and dry pitch.

Somerset, who started the match in second position in the Championship table 27 points ahead of fourth placed Essex, were given a good start by their openers who initially almost exclusively in boundaries. The first 24 runs of the morning all arrived from fours but having helped Trescothick carry their first wicket partnership to 38, Ed Byrom became the first casualty of the innings.

He had scored 16 when Siddle, with his ninth ball of the day, found the edge and Adam Wheater took completed a comfortable catch.

Off-spinner Harmer was introduced after an hour’s play and might have had an early wicket but varun Chopra at slip failed to hold the catch offered by tresothick who was on 23 at the time.

However the South African bowler took his 33rd wicket of the Championship season when he removed Azhar Ali for 17 with the score on 63.

The Pakistan Test batsman Lawrence drove a ball to short mid-wicket where Dan Lawrence took the catch.

Meanwhile Trescothick continued to play sensibly driving beautifully on both sides of the wicket and brought up his half-century when he drove Porter to the ropes to collect his tenth four having faced 83 balls at that point.

But Porter was to strike with the final ball before lunch when he angled a ball back into James Hildreth (9) to gain the leg before decision.

At the break, Trescothick had reached 56 with 11 boundaries. Porter so far has taken 1 for 36, Harmer 1 for 23 and Siddle 1 for 15.