Well, it proved to be another highly-eventful day’s cricket.
In the morning, Somerset had resumed on 41-1 in their second innings (leading by 13 runs (Somerset had been dismissed for just 95… and Warwickshire hadn’t fared much better in reaching 123). Although the pitch wasn’t “dangerous”, it was one that had previously been “used” (when I looked at it closely in the lunch break, it did look very badly worn to me – and I don’t really blame the batsman for treating it with great suspicion!!) and certainly offered help to both seam and spin bowlers.
In the end, Somerset made 211 – largely thanks to captain Chris Rogers (who made 58, after being dropped the night before) and Peter Trego (31, which included two sixes) and set Warwickshire 184 to win. It was a target that SHOULD have been well within their capabilities, but they started disastrously and were soon 34-5… and then 61-8 - largely thanks to some pretty awful Warwickshire batting and to some impressive spin bowling by Somerset’s Leach (5 wickets) and Bess (2 wickets).
But then (in my view – and I’m an expert, of course!), after failing to take a wicket for maybe three overs(?), the Somerset captain Rogers decided to replace the impressive debutant Bess with another spinner, van der Merwe. His five, fairly innocuous, overs went for more than four an over and seemed to give the Warwickshire batsmen Clarke and Wright a new-found confidence. By the time I left for home, Warwickshire had slightly recovered to 86-8, but were still clearly going to lose the match…
In the event, the two batsman – somewhat incredibly, given what had happened earlier - managed to stay at the crease until close of play… and had taken the score to 131-8 (Clarke 42, Wright 38)… leaving just 53 runs for an improbable victory.
Who knows what will happen today (Warwickshire will probably lose their last wickets in the first over!)… but today proved to be a highly-entertaining, absorbing day’s cricket (in that quiet, gentle way that cricket has of doing things!).
“England, Their England” indeed!
Photo: Patel appealing against Trescothick in Somerset’s second innings.