Honours even after Abell and Trego save Somerset from Edgbaston collapse

Honours even after Abell and Trego save Somerset from Edgbaston collapse

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On a pitch that looked good for batting, 12 wickets fell and only two batsmen passed 40. For Somerset, Tom Abell and Pete Trego took the batting honours but overall, their total of 295 looked to be well under par. But, by the end of the day, Somerset had taken two early Warwickshire wickets and honours were just about even.

Losing the toss and bowling first, left-armer Keith Barker shocked Somerset with a couple of early wickets.

Marcus Trescothick has made a career out of missing deliveries that he may or may not have played at and Barker had already passed his bat around ten times before he missed another that hit his off stump.

Chris Rogers hadn’t scored when Barker had him caught behind off a lifting delivery. It was difficult to know if Rogers’ reluctance to leave the crease was down to disappointment, belief that he hadn’t got a touch or just a refusal on principle to walk.

At 28-2, it was a poor start from Somerset, but Abell and James Hildreth set about restoring visiting fortunes.

The short boundary on the western side of the ground was proving fruitful for both batsmen, as Abell hooked Chris Woakes for six, his first ever maximum, while Hildreth smoothly drove Rikki Clarke for three off-side boundaries in an over.

It took a remarkable catch to break the partnership, Sam Hain at short leg clinging on as Hildreth struck Boyd Rankin firmly off his pads. The lunch score of 101-3 left honours just about even, a particular theme for the encounter so far.

Abell went to an excellent fifty off 84 balls but Barker, shifting to the City end, induced an indifferent shot from James Allenby who steered straight to Jonathan Trott in the gully for 117-4.

Barker was in the middle of another excellent spell, beating Abell three times in one over, while Clarke had his moments, with Trego inside edging him past Tim Ambrose for four to get off the mark.

But Clarke also leaked runs, his first seven overs going for 40. His day scarcely improved when he swallowed a fly part way through his run-up, though it was an even worse day for the fly.

Abell and Trego worked hard to build a stand. Abell displayed a calmness at the crease that belied his youth and relative inexperience. Though there are suggestions that spin may come into play later in the game, there seemed little in this first day pitch for Jeetan Patel.

Abell reached an impressive second first-class hundred by sweeping Patel and scampering an all-run four.  On the far side of the tea interval, Trego completed a restrained fifty off 92 balls, with just four boundaries.

Chris Woakes was having a variable day, mixing some challenging deliveries with a fair leavening of dross; and he suffered the indignity of seeing Trego square cut a long hop for six.

So settled were the batsmen that it was a real surprise when Abell played across a straight ball from Trott and was palpably lbw. His 104 included 12 fours and one six and lasted 180 balls.  He and Trego had added 110 runs.

The match took another turn when Woakes yorked new batsman Lewis Gregory with a swinging delivery to put Somerset in some trouble at 228-6. This became 238-7 when Ryan Davies edged Rankin and Clarke, low down to his right at second slip took the kind of catch that others drop and that he makes look easy.

Craig Overton struck a couple of lusty blows but then Trotty struck again, Chopra at short mid-wicket diving low to his right to take a good catch.

It could have been worse when Hain failed to hang on to a sharp chance at short leg offered by Jamie Overton off Patel, while in the same over, the batsman heaved a massive six over wide long-on.

Trott completed an impressive ten-over spell of accurate medium-paced bowling with figures of 2-26.

Initially, the second new ball had little impact but Trego was denied a well-deserved century when Woakes brought a delivery back into him to trap him lbw for 94.

His innings lasted 154 balls and included seven fours and a six. Jack Leach fell immediately, caught at first slip by Varun Chopra, and Somerset were all out for a below-par 295.  Barker and Woakes took three wickets apiece.

The Warwickshire openers had seven overs to survive but Somerset struck early. Gregory trapped  Ian Westwood lbw to a delivery that the batsman, in a run of poor form, was obviously hoping pitched outside leg stump.

Joined by unlikely number three Rankin, Chopra pulled Craig Overton for six, but there was more trouble for the Bears as Rankin fell to a fine catch at leg slip by James Hildreth off Craig Overton for just a single.

This forced Trott to the wicket and he and Chopra saw out the day.

This match could go either way; but at least, weather permitting, a definite result looks likely.

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