16 wickets fall on day one


A late fightback from Somerset left their Vitality County Championship game with Durham finely poised on an opening day which saw 16 wickets fall.

Ben Stokes took four wickets to restrict Somerset to 171 all out in their first innings while David Bedingham led Durham’s reply with an unbeaten century at an overcast Seat Unique Riverside.

Having been put in on a grassy pitch, Somerset had their backs to the wall, but Migael Pretorius, who was later replaced by Jake Ball due to concussion, got his second 50 of the season and Craig Overton had the hosts in a spot of bother at 19 for three.

Ball took three late wickets including that of Stokes and Ollie Robinson, but Bedingham got his century just before close to leave Durham 177 for six, six runs ahead with four wickets remaining.

Durham skipper Scott Borthwick elected to bowl at the toss and it was justified in the first over, with Ben Raine claiming the scalp of Tom Abell for four with a ball that clipped the top of off-stump. However, at the other end, Tom Lammonby started to find his groove, with three fours from a Paul Coughlin over.

Matt Renshaw was dogged in defence, with just five runs from 39 balls before he was caught behind by Ollie Robinson, Stokes’ first wicket of the day. Lammonby was the second victim of Stokes, with the left-hander looking to cut one but extra bounce deceived him and he edged behind to Robinson for 22.

Just five balls later, Peter Siddle then joined the party on home debut against his former County as Andy Umeed edged to second slip for nine. Tom Banton and James Rew came to the crease and combined nicely, but Raine got his second of the innings on the stroke of lunch when Rew was out lbw for 13.

The lunch break didn’t bring better fortune for Somerset as in the first over after the break Siddle struck twice in two balls, removing Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton before Pretorius successfully defended the hat-trick ball.

Pretorius supported Banton as they combined for a partnership worth 35, but Raine put an end to Banton’s defiance, as he chipped a ball straight to mid-wicket to give Raine his third.

Stokes grabbed his third of the day when Josh Davey was lbw for 10, which spurred Pretorius on to attack and reach his half-century.

Despite wickets falling at the other end, Pretorius played well for his 50, but the South African did not last much longer as he edged a Stokes delivery to second slip to wrap up the Somerset innings.

That was Pretorius’ last action of the match as he was subbed out with concussion after being struck on the helmet prior to his dismissal, with Jake Ball replacing him for the rest of the game.

Responding to Somerset’s total of 171, Durham started in the worst possible way as Alex Lees was run out for three while backing up, after Overton got his hand to a Borthwick straight drive and the ball cannoned onto the stumps when Lees was out of his ground.

Colin Ackermann was then dismissed for one after he edged an Overton delivery to second slip and the Somerset man struck again to leave Durham 19 for three, after Borthwick was out lbw for nine.

The in-form duo of Bedingham and Robinson decided to attack on the bowler-friendly wicket, as they ticked the scoreboard over and went past 100.

The pair elegantly chipped away at Somerset’s total, with Bedingham hitting a Jack Leach delivery down the ground for six to reach his half-century from 60 balls. Unlike his partner, Robinson could not make it to the half-century mark as he fell to Ball for 46, which brought Stokes to the crease.

The England Test captain then departed for a duck after Ball got him lbw and the Somerset seamer struck again to remove Graham Clark for one.

Just before close, Bedingham hit his fourth consecutive County Championship hundred from 103 balls.

At the close, Jake Ball said:“I think it’s a big first hour tomorrow morning. If we can roll them over relatively cheaply then we’re still in the game. It was a touch damp this morning and we would have loved to have bowled. It dried up a lot throughout the day, the outfield got a touch quicker and we think that the pitch has perhaps got a touch slower, so it’s nice to have got those six wickets.

“I think given the form that our batters are in, we’re a little disappointed but I think it was a great fight from Miggy ( Pretorius) to get us up to that total so we felt like it was a competitive total if we could get those early wickets.

“I haven’t been playing a lot, so I said to myself that when I get the opportunity I’ll take it and that’s what I did today.

“I’m really happy how I’ve been bowling most of this season. I’ve had a lot of time off with injury so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this season with a clean bill of health.”