Somerset (319-4) pile up the runs against a makeshift Gloucestershire attack
Gloucestershire provided another featherbed surface in Bristol for two of their three last-minute loan signings to toil on from the outset as Graeme van Buuren won the toss and surprisingly opted to bowl on another flat one.
Matt Renshaw and Tom Lammonby carried on where they left off against Warwickshire; putting on 172 for the first wicket, relatively untroubled by a much-changed Gloucestershire attack.
Mo Amir and Naseem Shah, the two Pakistani quicks are both injured, as is David Payne whilst Dom Goodman has oddly been rested despite bowling well for Gloucestershire and Exeter Uni in recent times – workload management I guess you could call it for the tall young seamer.
Hence Hampshire’s Brad Wheal and Notts’ Zak Chappell helping Ryan Higgins, Matt Taylor, George Scott and Zafar Gohar with the bowling this match. Warwickshire’s Jacob Bethell was made to wait to wield the willow on day one in a Gloucestershire shirt.
Despite being one point above their visitors in the table going into this one, the first ball of the afternoon session summed up the home side’s plight. Taylor offered a leg-stump full toss creamed to the midwicket boundary by Tom Lammonby.
Some shabby fielding followed from the Glosters into the afternoon and to be frank it got slightly boring how easily Somerset’s openers were striking boundaries at will off some really poor bowling.
What a different prospect it would have been facing Amir/Shah/Goodman/Payne today.
Somerset’s two left-handers got past their 137-0 comfortably as press box chat turned to how many bowlers could Gloucestershire use and why only one of the three left-arm spinners picked had bowled come 2pm on day one of such a benign pitch.
I thought I would enjoy some afternoon sun in the stands between 2-3pm and of course thereby brought about three Somerset wickets.
Both openers went in quick succession, Keaton Jennings and Luke Wells lookalike Chappell had Lammonby guiding an innocuous delivery straight to gully on 76 before the same bowler produced the ball of the day to bowl Renshaw for 94 – one blow short of consecutive Championship centuries.
Tom Banton looked good for 18 before Higgins had him caught behind. But Tom Abell and James Hildreth rotated strike and used their feet well to keep things ticking until tea at 229-3.
After tea, Abell and Hildreth took their stand to 85 and faced the second new ball with total equanimity. It was a surprise, therefore, when Hildreth played a lazy shot outside off stump and edged the persevering Matt Taylor to James Bracey.
That was the end of the excitement for the day. Steven Davies accompanied Abell while he reached a sedate fifty. Somerset closed on 319-4 and must surely be looking to pile on more runs tomorrow against the willing but makeshift Gloucestershire attack. Zafar Gohar bowled 65 overs at Old Trafford and it looks like he’ll need to bowl somewhere near that figure again this week!