Gloucestershire continue to lead the West Country derby after a rain affected day two as Somerset’s top order struggle again at Taunton.
Imam Ul-Haq continued where his fellow test opening bat Marcus Harris left off yesterday (159), slightly salvaging another top order struggle for Somerset in the battle of the two left-handed overseas in the West Country derby at Taunton. He was caught behind for 90 off Tom Price (4-49) just before 5pm, but at 157-5 he had already scored more than half the entire Somerset score with his bat.
Lewis Gregory and Josh Davey wrapped up the Gloucestershire tail with minimum fuss, just 23 runs added as only Jack Taylor reached double figures after Gloucestershire’s top three were all out past 50 yesterday. Eight Gloucester wickets lost for 62 runs since Miles Hammond was out on day one to make it 281-3. 343 all out, missing out on 7.5 overs of potential bonus point scoring too.
The first over of Somerset’s reply bowled by David Payne was rather dramatic. You could say Tom Lammonby started positively, or critically, like a cat on a hot-tin roof. He looked rather eager to feel bat on ball – not helped by only playing shorter formats of cricket since July. He hit two then four off his first two balls, then we saw a brief period of calm with two dot balls before the last two balls of the over saw Lammonby first dropped by Marcus Harris at third slip, then caught behind final ball of the first over.
Ajeet Dale, given the new ball ahead of Shaw at the River End, got the key wicket of injury-returning Somerset skipper Tom Abell too. He was opened up attempting to back foot punch, edging to Ollie Price at second slip for two, 17-2.
George Bartlett surprisingly came in at four ahead of Lewis Goldsworthy and safely navigated the home side to lunch at 34-2.
But sadly it was another pretty 33 and out for the talented Bartlett, leaving a decent nut that came back in similarly to Lewis Gregory’s delivery to Graeme van Buuren yesterday. Tom Price the bowler, who soon had Goldsworthy too, caught behind for 10.
But left-handers have played best so far this match, Tom’s younger brother Ollie Price the only right-hand bat to pass 33 with his 52 yesterday. James Rew continued this trend, keeping Imam company to 135-4 at tea.
The heavens did eventually open at 4pm with 35.5 overs left in the day. But credit to the groundstaff and umpires again as once the rain relented play resumed at 4.40 allowing Imam to reach his debut 90 off 162 balls.
Lewis Gregory only lasted three balls, also squared up by Price, caught by his brother at second slip. 157-4 still 36 runs short of the follow-on target.
For an aggressive, modern, innovative young player, James Rew should be given big credit for digging in. The 18-year-old wicket-keeper bat faced 78 balls for 11 before he was dropped by a diving second slip off David Payne, what really should have been first slip’s catch, comfortably two-handed into his midriff.
Rew carried on unfazed though as Kasey Aldridge soon inside edged Shaw onto his stumps for four and Davey was caught behind for eight off Dale. 179-8 as the second Pakistan overseas player Sajid Khan made his debut with the bat at number ten.
Rew edged through third slip off Dale to surpass the follow-on target just after 6pm with still seven overs remaining and rain creeping up from Devon.
The same over that Somerset did eventually get one batting bonus point, Harris dropped another catch at third slip, Khan this time off Price denying today’s star bowler a five-fer.
Rew and Khan somehow safely negotiated proceedings to the close at 209-8.
[Editor’s note: Harry also shares with us a link to an interesting day with him in the commentary box. He says: “We were joined by Ian Blackwell in the box as well as James Hildreth, Jack Brooks and Tom Lammonby all keen to hear the former England and Somerset (and Durham and Derbyshire) cricketer, now umpire regale some stories to Pete Trego, Sam Dalling and myself on commentary. Can listen/watch back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlWQ2VtsAoo“]