|Ground:||County Ground, Taunton|
|Scorecard:||Somerset v Kent|
|Player:||DI Stevens, AV Suppiah|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2010|
DateLine: 21st July 2010
Less than three hours’ play was possible at the County Ground, Taunton, on the first day of their match against Kent, but they managed to get themselves into considerable trouble. When rain finally stopped play, they had lost seven wickets for only 122 runs, as their batsmen appeared still to be in Twenty20 mode. The main beneficiary was the medium-pacer Darren Stevens, who took four quick wickets with steady bowling.
Due to some overnight rain, the start of play was delayed for fifteen minutes. Martin van Jaarsveld, captaining Kent in the absence of the injured Rob Key, won the toss and put Somerset in to bat on a pitch that is startlingly green for the modern day, scarcely distinguishable from the outfield. At Taunton, even such a pitch is no real terror, but it did give a little life and movement to encourage the seam bowlers.
Marcus Trescothick was perhaps a little too eager to get the scoreboard moving, but he drove Simon Cook twice through the covers for four in the second over of the innings before settling down to an innings of more circumspection. Arul Suppiah supported him well, although both had a bit of luck with close lbw appeals or playing and missing. The opening stand put on 64 in 55 minutes before Darren Stevens came on to bowl his slow-medium dobbers. Perhaps this caused Trescothick to relax a little too much, as he prodded forward and was lbw to a straight ball for 27 (47 balls).
Jos Buttler came in next, and with Suppiah took the score past 100. It looked like being a rather colourless morning’s cricket until, just before lunch, there was a sudden flurry of three wickets falling in the space of seven balls, all with the total at 101. Suppiah was first to go, mistiming a drive to be caught at point off Cook for 34. Buttler, pushing half-forward to a ball from Stevens, was caught at second slip, while James Hildreth edged his second ball from the same innocuous-looking bowler to the keeper. Somerset limped in to lunch on an unexpected 105 for four.
Lunch brought no respite for the home side. Demon bowler Stevens soon struck again; Craig Kieswetter (6) hit one handsome drive through the off-side field, but then drove too soon and gave a simple catch in the covers. Peter Trego made 3, and seemed quite nonplussed by a ball from Amjad Khan, limply edging a catch into the slips. Ben Phillips did not score, caught at the wicket driving loosely outside the off stump at another ball from Khan, another very poor shot, and the score had now declined to 118 for seven. Exactly ten overs had brought 17 runs for six wickets.
Four runs later a light drizzle drove the players from the field, and on-off rain throughout the afternoon frustrated all efforts to play again. In about two hours and a half Somerset have got themselves into rather a mess, and although the pitch did give the bowlers a little more joy than usual at Taunton, the wickets fell to bad strokes rather than particularly good balls. Their only real hope lies in Zander de Bruyn, who went in number four and is still there with seven runs, scored with discipline – but if he succeeds, he will need support at the other end. As William Shakespeare might have said had he been a member of the Somerset side, “The fault is not in our pitch, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
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