LV= County Championship Division One – Warwickshire v Somerset Day Three
By the end of a fairly mundane day’s cricket at Edgbaston, Somerset led Warwickshire by 32 runs with eight second innings wickets in hand. All options will exist at the start of the final day – anything from a boring draw to a thrilling climax to the season.
At the start of the day, on a cloudy and chilly end of season morning, Warwickshire resumed on 112-3, 103 behind Somerset.
In the first over, Dan Mousley edged Josh Davey to be well caught low down at second slip by Andy Umeed for 6. Despite his obvious talent, Mousley has hardly had the breakthrough season he must have hoped for.
Not too many balls beat the bat but the Somerset quartet of pace bowlers kept disciplined lines and lengths. They had their reward when first Alex Davies was lbw to Jack Brooks and then Michael Burgess edged behind off Neil Wagner. At 147-6, it looked possible that Somerset might claim a first innings lead.
Ed Barnard has carried over into the four day game his good form in the One Day Cup. He built a partnership with Danny Briggs that took Warwickshire into the lead. He reached his 50 off the last ball before the lunch interval, taking the Bears to 225-6.
After lunch, Warwickshire’s efforts to build a big lead were soon thwarted. Danny Briggs skied Neil Wagner down to long leg to be caught by Tom Lammonby; and Craig Miles was caught behind down the leg side also off Wagner. Then, after the new ball had been taken, Davey claimed the big wicket of Ed Barnard, another skier taken at deep backward point.
The innings ended as it had begun with Lewis Gregory knocking a batter’s off stump out of the ground. Olly Hannnon-Dalby may not be as valued a prize as Kraigg Brathwaite had been but they each count as one wicket in the scorebook. Warwickshire, 273 all out, led by 58, a useful but not decisive lead.
Somerset began their second innings slowly as though doggedly determined to get through the new ball. Tediously though Tom Lammonby and Sean Dickson batted, they succeeded in staying together until the 15th over. They also induced Warwickshire to pursue unusual field placings, with three silly mid-ons cum shortlegs in a line to Ed Barnard’s bowling. Lammonby fell to the ploy, giving a catch to Dan Mousley, the middle man in the line. And so Somerset went to tea at 34-1.
After the interval, Barnard briefly had not just three in a line in front on the on side but on the off side also to Lewis Goldsworthy – a ring of six. In fact, it was Michael Burgess who caught Goldsworthy when he tried to pull a short ball from Barnard and got a faint edge – 50-2.
Somerset progressed to 90-2 before, at 4.50, the light meter did its worst and the players came off. Immediately beforehand, Michael Burgess had uncharacteristically dropped a straightforward chance offered by Dickson off Olly Hannon-Dalby. He hung his head in shame.
And so Somerset will go into the final day with a lead of 32.
A better day’s weather is forecast so there is the possibility at least of a result. Two years ago, Warwickshire’s last day brought them the Championship. Last year, there was the excitement of a win against Hampshire that saved the Bears from relegation. Maybe there can be a third consecutive thrill-a-minute finale. We shall see.