Craig impresses with bat and ball but Warwickshire extend lead on day three


Warwickshire will certainly believe that they had the better of the third day of this Vitality County Championship encounter against Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground, but a quick flurry of wickets in the evening session will have the home side feeling that they are still in with a chance of securing a positive result tomorrow.

The visitors, who are yet to claim a victory in red-ball cricket this summer, made light work of the home batters this morning and by the close of play had extended their lead to more than 400 on a bright but breezy day in Taunton. However, three wickets fell for the addition of just six runs this evening as Somerset fought back valiantly on what could be described as a docile surface.

Over 1000 school children from across the South West were in attendance as part of the Club’s annual School’s Day and they witnessed the home side resume on 208 for six this morning. Unfortunately, despite a dogged stand between Craig Overton and James Rew, Somerset were dismissed for 284, trailing by 128.

The day couldn’t have started worse for the hosts as Tom Abell (61) was trapped lbw by Michael Booth with the third ball of the morning. The score had advanced to 222 when Kasey Aldridge played at a wide one and edged to Rob Yates to give Booth his second of the session.

Aldridge’s departure brought Overton and Rew together and the pair reached their 50 partnership for the ninth wicket from just 55 balls. The stand was eventually worth 60 before Oliver Hannon-Dalby found the Somerset ‘keeper’s outside edge and Yates did the rest. Rew departing for 18 at 282 for nine.

Only two further runs were added to the total before Migael Pretorius was yorked by Hannon-Dalby, who finished with six for 56 from 18.2 overs. Overton remained not out on 35.

Yates and Alex Davies survived the opening exchanges of the Warwickshire second innings, and at lunch the visitors were 25 without loss.

The pair continued to accumulate their runs intelligently and brought up their 50 partnership from 121 balls. Yates reached his own half century from 90 balls, with Davies attaining the landmark from 87 deliveries.

With the opening stand now worth 106, Somerset needed a breakthrough and it was provided by Jack Leach. The left-arm spinner bowling Davies (50,) who seemed bamboozled by the ball that dislodged his bails.

106 for one soon became 110 for two when Yates (57) picked out Josh Davey at fine leg off Overton, and by the time the tea interval arrived Warwickshire were 125 for two, leading by 253.

Will Rhodes and Sam Hain advanced the visitor’s total to 171, but that’s when the real Somerset fightback began.

Needing wickets, Captain Overton brought himself back into the attack and enticed Rhodes (36) to flash at one which was well held by a diving Rew.

Dan Mousley then miscued the Somerset skipper to Tom Banton at mid-on, and when Ed Barnard was brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Kasey Aldridge, Warwickshire were 177 for five and their opponents were battling their way back into the game.

However, the team from Edgbaston got back on top as Hain and Jacob Bethell shared a stand of 52 before Overton struck again. Hain (43) was the batter to fall, chipping the ball straight to Tom Kohler-Cadmore at mid-on at 229 for six.

Bethell reached his 50 from 71 balls but was trapped lbw by Leach for 66, and when Chris Woakes chipped Leach to Tom Lammonby in the final over of the day, Warwickshire closed on 281 for eight, a lead of 409.

However, Somerset will feel that the door has been very much left ajar.