At the start of the day when the skies were blue, Warwickshire opted to bat. But the first hour was disastrous for them. There was plenty of bounce in the pitch, and both Craig Overton and Josh Davey achieved enough movement to beat the bat regularly. There were more misses than on a convent school outing.
Rob Yates fell when he got an outside edge pushing forward to Craig Overton, and a totally out of form Sam Hain was bowled playing all over and round a full length delivery from the same bowler. In four innings this season, Hain has yet to reach double figures.
Warwickshire’s troubles increased when Ian Bell pushed a ball out on the off side and called for a single. Will Rhodes was strolling in, oblivious to Tom Abell swooping from the covers and throwing down the stumps.
At the end of the first hour, Warwickshire were in deep trouble on 15-3.
Jamie Overton must have decided that if he couldn’t outdo his brother in bowling skill, he would surpass him in aggression. A (hopefully accidental) near beamer was followed by a bouncer and, later in the over, by a throw at the stumps, all aimed at Matt Lamb. It could be that Overton was in a stroppy mood because Somerset have not released him to join his chosen county, Surrey; or maybe he has become a vegetarian and doesn’t like Lamb.
Ian Bell, who has been almost as short of runs as Hain, played a couple of pulls for four. Lamb followed suit and then cover drove Jamie Overton for four in Bell-like fashion.
Gregory claimed a lucky wicket when Ian Bell shaped for a leg glance and got the thinnest of possible edges. Warwickshire will wonder what to do about having, at numbers three and four in the order, two players in Hain and Bell who after a total of eight innings this season have a combined average of less than seven.
Lamb had batted pretty well and struck five crisp boundaries, but was beaten and bowled by the last ball before lunch. Warwickshire were 65-5 and Craig Overton dined with figures of 9-6-5-3.
Michael Burgess and Tim Bresnan did their best to fashion a small recovery, but Burgess never looked totally comfortable and it was no surprise when he edged an attempted drive into his stumps to give Lewis Gregory his second wicket. Then, first ball, Alex Thomson was run out, Tom Banton’s throw hitting the stumps. Thomson seemed shocked to be given out, but a close study of the live-feed replay suggested that it was a good decision.
As Oscar Wilde might have said, when you are playing against a strong bowling attack, to lose one wicket to a run out may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.
After a short resistance Henry Brookes drove at a full length ball from Tom Abell, which moved away enough to get the edge and James Hildreth took the slip catch with ease. Craig Miles had an even briefer stay, being caught behind second ball off Abell.
When Oliver Hannon-Dalby edged Abell behind, Warwickshire were all out for 121 and Abell had figures of 3-4. Craig Overton with 3-17 off 14 overs of controlled menace shared the honours.
Tim Bresnan was left stranded on 32 not out. When he joined Warwickshire, he can’t have imagined that he would be needed mainly as a batsman; but so far, he has top scored in two of his four innings for the Bears.
Either side of tea, Eddie Byrom and Tom Lammonby batted steadily against bowling that, unlike Somerset’s, strayed far too often in line and length.
The openers topped 50 before Hannon-Dalby, bowling much better in his second spell, struck twice. Byrom edged him to Tim Bresnan who took a low catch at first slip. Lammonby fell in similar fashion, though this time it was Hain who, after a little juggle, caught him at second slip.
Tom Abell and James Hildreth saw Somerset through to the bad light induced close. They will be hoping that the forecast of rain for tomorrow is less accurate and reliable than their team’s bowling