|Ground:||County Ground, Taunton|
|Scorecard:||Somerset v Sussex|
|Player:||SJ Magoffin, C Overton, C Kieswetter|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2014|
DateLine: 9th June 2014
Match Report: SOMERSET v SUSSEX, Day 2
From John Ward at Taunton
Close of play: Sussex (214 and 16/0) v Somerset (289).
Fortunes fluctuated quite violently at the County Ground, Taunton, today. After Sussex had lost their last wicket for 214, fine fast-medium bowling by Steve Magoffin shattered the top of the Somerset batting, only for a fine recovery to come from the lower middle order. Craig Kieswetter began it, Craig Overton finished it and Somerset would have been well pleased with their unexpected first-innings lead of 75 runs.
Sussex resumed at 210 for nine wickets overnight, with Ed Joyce on 99. Off the third ball of the day, he forced a ball from Alfie Thomas backward of point to the boundary, and so reached a very gritty century off 228 balls. In Thomasís next over, however, he was beaten on the forward stroke and trapped lbw for his 103; it took him 233 balls and contained 13 fours. It may well have been the least impressive century he has made, as far as the visual aspect is concerned, but it was a fighting innings that was invaluable for his side.
Matt Machan was the next highest scorer with 30, and the total was 214. There were three wickets each to Thomas and Peter Trego, who both bowled well and deserved their success, while Craig Overton took two wickets.
Somerset did not have too difficult a total to face, but for a long time it seemed that Steve Magoffin had taken the match in hand for Sussex. With the new ball in hand, he shattered the Somerset top order, swinging the ball away not a great deal, but enough to take the edge of the bat. The massacre began with the second ball of the innings. This was the match in which last year Marcus Trescothick secured his infamous Ďpairí; another such became possible when he drove at a full-length delivery and lost his off stump.
Johann Myburgh was dropped in the slips off Magoffin, but this error, unlike the missing of Joyce by Somerset the previous day, did little to harm Sussex, as with only 3 to his credit he attempted a flashy drive and was caught at the wicket; 7 for two. Nick Compton promised but failed to deliver, scoring 13 out of 18 before he pushed outside off stump and edged to the keeper. James Hildreth, criticized by locals who say he does not deliver runs under pressure, was trapped lbw for 6, while Alviro Petersen (8) was another to oblige Ben Brown, the wicketkeeper, with an airy drive that took the edge.
Somerset were now in dire trouble at 39 for five, but the shine was leaving the new ball and Magoffin could not bowl forever. He took a break after a superb opening spell of ten overs, two maidens, five wickets for 19 runs. Thus relieved, Craig Kieswetter and Peter Trego were able to settle in and start a fightback. At lunch they had reached 92 for five wickets, with the fluent Kieswetter on 47 and Trego on 13.
They took the score to 125, after a partnership of 84, before both were out in quick succession. Trego (27) edged a drive to third slip off Magoffin, giving the Australian the first six wickets of the innings. Then Kieswetter broke the sequence when he tried to turn a ball from Steffan Piolet to leg and was caught in the covers off a leading edge. He had scored an impressive 65 off 73 balls, with nine fours and a six.
Their replacements were Craig Meschede and Craig Overton, who continued to carry the attack to the bowlers from the start. Both batted like assured and competent batsmen rather than glorified tailenders, and they added 81 together at almost a run a ball, putting Sussex right on the back foot. Meschede went for 38 off 39 balls, eventually popping a catch into the covers off Piolet, making the score 206 for eight, now close to the Sussex total.
Thomas now joined Overton, and another flourishing partnership developed. Overton reached his second first-class fifty before tea, when he had his highest score of 59, the total being 231 for eight wickets. After tea they continued to press home their unexpected advantage. Overton has five centuries to his credit for North Devon, so he has a good batting record at a lower level, but he was not to achieve this landmark in first-class cricket on this particular day. It was a cunning gamble by Joyce to hand the ball to Rory Hamilton-Brown, and it came off: Overton obligingly hit a ball straight down the throat of wide long on, a soft dismissal for 86 in the end. He faced 120 balls and hit nine fours. This latest stand had put on 77 and taken the score to 283 for nine.
Hamilton-Brown finished off the innings in his next over with a quicker yorker that accounted for Thomas (38), the score closing at 289, a lead of 75 runs. Magoffinís final figures were six for 60, while Piolet and Hamilton-Brown took two each.
With Luke Wells suffering a strain, James Anyon went in with Chris Nash to open the Sussex second innings. There were no fireworks from batsmen or bowlers, and at the close Sussex had reached 26 without loss, Nash on 9 and Anyon 16. Somersetís lead was now 49 runs.
(Article: Copyright © 2014 John Ward)