Somerset revive after impressive start by Nottinghamshire

Luke Wood claimed three wickets during a great start for Notts.
Luke Wood claimed three wickets during a great start for Notts.

Steve Davies and Dom Bess rescued Somerset from potential embarrassment on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in bright sunshine, the First Division leaders were reduced to 145 for six by their bottom placed opponents, Jake Ball, Luke Wood and Ravi Ashwin claiming two wickets each.

But Bess then contributed 51 to an impressive seventh-wicket stand of 128 in 37 overs with Davies, who hit his highest score of the season.

The experienced wicketkeeper made 74 and by the close Somerset could feel satisfied with a total of 326 all out, knowing Notts will have to bat last on a pitch expected to turn as the match progresses.

Left-arm seamer Wood was the pick of the visiting attack, claiming four for 85. In making 44 for the hosts, James Hildreth achieved two notable milestones, moving up to fifth place, above Peter Roebuck, in Somerset’s all-time list of run-makers in first class cricket and later passing 17,000 career first class runs.

An evenly contested first session, saw Wood strike with his first delivery after replacing Ball at the River End, Azhar Ali edging to second slip and departing for ten with the total on 22.

The off-spin of Ashwin was introduced in only the 11th over and he soon had Tom Abell, on 17, well caught at short-leg, by Ben Slater, diving forward to accept a chance via the pad.

Hildreth’s breezy 68-ball contribution, featuring 6 fours, ended with the total on 96 when he attempted to drive Ball and edged a second catch to Steven Mullaney in the slips and at lunch Somerset were 111 for three.

The afternoon session saw George Bartlett bowled behind his legs by Wood for 18, Tom Banton (25) disturb his own stumps trying to keep out a ball from Ashwin and Lewis Gregory caught at mid-on for nine, miscuing a shot off Ball.

At that point, Somerset looked in danger of not getting any batting points. But by tea Davies and Bess had solidly added exactly 50 and they looked in little trouble extending their stand after the break on what was looking a pretty flat pitch.

Left-hander Davies was first to his half-century, off 113 balls, with 7 fours. The century partnership came up in 28 overs, without either batsman giving a chance, and the second new ball was taken at 256 for six.

Bess went to a fifth first class fifty off 99 deliveries, with five boundaries, his first major contribution with the bat for Somerset this season following a month on loan with Yorkshire, and a vitally important one.

But the 21-year-old perished soon afterwards, edging a third catch of the innings to Mullaney and giving Wood his third wicket.

The accurate Notts seamer made it four when pinning Davies lbw on the back foot with the total on 292. But Jamie Overton cover drove him for four to clinch a third batting point and earn warm applause from a 3,000 crowd.

Overton went on to ensure Somerset go into day two with plenty of momentum, smiting 34 off just 35 balls, with 4 fours and a six, before being well caught at slip by Ben Duckett off Luke Fletcher.

Play ended for the day when Ashwin had last man Jack Leach lbw to finish with three for 93 from 34.3 overs.