Four for Migael but Warwickshire battle back on day one


Migael Pretorius claimed three wickets in the morning session but Warwickshire fought back strongly on the opening day of this Vitality County Championship Division One match at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The South African all-rounder, who could be making his final appearance for Somerset this summer, removed Rob Yates, Sam Hain and Dan Mousley in a destructive spell to leave the visitors on 40 for four in the 15th over. He also removed Chris Woakes to finish the day with four wickets.

However, century stands between Will Rhodes and Ed Barnard for the fifth wicket, and Michael Burgess and Woakes for the eighth ensured that the host’s early morning dominance had been irradicated by the end of an enthralling first day.

Barnard (92) led the Warwickshire fightback before he was bowled by Jack Leach, who responded to his omission from the England Test squad by claiming two wickets in front of another big crowd at Taunton, but it was Burgess who top scored with an unbeaten 126 as the visitors finished the day on 373 for eight.

Somerset Captain, Craig Overton won the toss and elected to bowl.

Josh Davey made the first breakthrough with the Warwickshire total on 19 as Alex Davies edged a defensive push to Tom Abell at first slip in the fifth over.

It was 34 for two when Yates, on 15, nicked a lifter from Pretorius and Kasey Aldridge accepted a sharp chance at second slip. The South African struck again in his next over with an excellent delivery that clipped the top of off stump to send back Hain for a duck.

Warwickshire were in a deep hole at 40 for four when the inspired Pretorius induced Mousley to edge an attempted leg-side shot to give Aldridge another slip catch at which point the seamer’s figures were three for six.

Rhodes survived a couple of scares before lunch, which was taken at 97 for four, the skipper having made 42 and added 57 with Barnard, who was unbeaten on 25.

The afternoon session saw Rhodes move to fifty off 87 balls, and the partnership with the unflappable Barnard extend past the century mark before Somerset struck two blows in rapid succession.

Jack Leach, preferred to Shoaib Bashir as the only specialist spinner in the side, tempted Rhodes into an error as an ugly mishit saw him cloth a gentle catch to Andy Umeed at mid-on. The following over saw Craig Overton force a defensive edge from Jacob Bethell through to wicketkeeper James Rew.

Barnard remained a solid presence, having moved to his half-century off 94 balls. He was unbeaten on 79 at tea, sensibly picking the right balls to attack, and had helped his side to 214 for six, with the help of Burgess, on 33 not out.

After tea, Burgess moved to an impressive fifty off 87 balls but Barnard fell with the stand on 99 as Leach bowled him attempting to cut a slightly quicker delivery.

A Burgess single of Leach took Warwickshire to a first batting point at 250 for seven.

It was 291 for seven when the new ball was taken, with Burgess and Woakes looking well set. Woakes brought up 300 with a glorious cover driven four.

Burgess went to three figures with a straight drive for two off Overton, having faced 146 balls and hit 10 fours and three sixes. The pitch was offering precious little seam movement as he and Woakes batted with increasing comfort and aggression.

Woakes suffered a couple of painful blows, one to his right hand, but the England all-rounder battled bravely through until chipping a catch to Umeed at mid-on to give Pretorius his fourth wicket. Michael Booth then survived a caught and bowled chance to Davey to increase Somerset’s frustration.