Day Four – Close
Somerset’s pursuit for a maiden County Championship title remains on course as they defeated Warwickshire by five wickets on day four at Edgbaston.
Needing 250 to win with ten wickets in hand, the visitors chased down the target in 72.4 overs to secure an invaluable 21 points as they look to outlast Essex and Yorkshire who both won on Tuesday.
It would have seemed pretty optimistic to think a victory was possible when Somerset slumped to 166 for five on day two, but an excellent century from Steve Davies and strong bowling performance, led by Tom Abell, on day three gave the Taunton based side the advantage ahead of a defining final day.
The Bears bowled well, missing the bat several times, but key partnerships through the Somerset middle order between Tom Banton, who came through the Warwickshire Pathway, Pakistan international Babar Azam, George Bartlett and Dom Bess, frustrated the hosts.
Wicket-keeper Davies was the first wicket to fall, edging a wide Oliver Hannon-Dalby in swinger to Tim Ambrose for 16, with James Hildreth following 14 balls later.
The 34-year-old got stuck in his crease, trapped LBW by Hannon-Dalby who had to wait a little while for umpire Ian Gould to raise the finger.
There would be no hesitation following Henry Brookes’ appeal, however. The birthday boy, who turned 20, bowled a full delivery which Abell played around and struck his pads for 25.
But more quick wickets never came as Babar, who was playing his first County Championship fixture with a Test average of 53.29 in his past ten games, and Banton put on a stylish partnership of 90 from 178 balls to thrust the initiative back to the visitors.
Babar would eventually depart, trapped LBW by debutant George Garrett for 40 from 103 balls (eight fours), whilst Banton, who hit Jeetan Patel for a reverse sweep six, returned to the pavilion after an excellent catch from Tim Ambrose off the spinner for 66.
Any hope of a middle-order collapse were quickly dashed, however, by more professional batting from Bartlett (54 from 76 balls) and Bess (40 from 62 balls).
The pair showed their experience blending attack with defence in conditions that were ideal for batting.
Resuming after tea on 215 for five, needing 43 more, it would take the duo just 8.4 overs to chase down the 258 total they were set late on day three.
Their partnership, which closed at 88 from 102 balls, could prove to be vital in a title race that looks to be heading down the wire
Somerset sit just two points behind league leaders Essex and they’ll be comforted by the fact they face their rivals at Taunton in the final game of the season.
Warwickshire, however, will rue their opportunities in a match they dominated for two-and-a-half days and included a maiden first-class ton for 19-year-old Rob Yates.
The Bears would have gone a long way to securing their Division One status with a victory but instead hold a 42 point lead over winless Nottinghamshire with three games to go.
An exciting finale is in store at Edgbaston as Warwickshire and Somerset will both fancy their chances on day four of their Specsavers County Championship clash.
Somerset closed day three on eight without loss after bad light stopped play, needing a further 250 runs to secure what might have looked an unlikely victory earlier in the day.
Resuming on 167/5 in reply to the Bears 419, the visitors reached 303, before showing their Championship winning credentials.
Tom Abell finished with career-best figures of 13.4-4-39-4 to help bowl out the hosts for just 146 in 50.4 overs.
With league leaders Essex victorious at Canterbury against Kent, second-placed Somerset will even more desperate to secure a win to keep them in the hunt with three games to go.
Overnight batsman Steve Davies (89*) and Dom Bess (1*) showed plenty of patience, amassing just 20 runs in the first ten overs.
Davies, a Somerset linchpin having been on the field for the entirety of the contest, reached his maiden first-class century off 176 balls (15 fours) before the hosts struck 27 balls later after a spell of extended pressure.
Five runs in four overs had followed and, after striking Jeetan Patel down the ground for six, Patel got his man next ball as the 33-year-old edged to Will Rhodes for 109.
Next man in Roelof van der Merwe would only last eight balls, edging to Tim Ambrose off Rhodes for one, giving the Bears hope that they could force Somerset to follow-on.
But excellent partnerships of 61 and 55 between Bess and Craig and Jamie Overton respectively passed the 269-follow-on total and settled the ship.
Bess would eventually carry his bat with a superb 52 from 139 balls (six fours) as the brothers were dismissed by Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Henry Brookes for 36 and 22 respectively.
But the Bears in a prime position wasted their advantage with an array of loose shots.
Rob Yates top-scored with 51 from 80 balls (eight fours), adding to his impressive first innings score of 141, but only Will Rhodes (30) and Tim Ambrose (19) joined him in double figures.
Dominic Sibley was trapped LBW by Jack Brooks for nine moving across his stumps, leaving the Bears on 27/1 and Abell then shifted the momentum in the penultimate over before tea.
The 25-year-old removed Will Rhodes, caught by James Hildreth at first slip, and Sam Hain (LBW) with consecutive balls to reduce the Bears to 48/3, before Adam Hose left the hat-trick ball.
The Bears returned after tea on 52/3, a lead of 163, but the 20-minute interval didn’t stop the Somerset pressure.
Hose was caught behind for seven by Davies off Brooks before Jamie Overton put the Edgbaston crowd on the edge of their seats with a trio of quick wickets from the Pavilion End.
Yates was first, trapped LBW, with Michael Burgess finding van der Merwe at gully for nought after just two balls.
Henry Brookes made an immediate impact as he found the third boundary first ball, but 15 balls later he was back in the dressing room, edging to Davies without adding to his score.
Wicket-keeper Ambrose had battled throughout Overton’s spell, but he was also trapped LBW after 50 balls as was Jeetan Patel in the following over from Abell for nine.
Hannon-Dalby, alongside George Garrett (6*), had frustrated Somerset for 34 balls before departing, but the Taunton side, who have Abell (8) and Davies (0) at the crease will be eyeing up their eighth win on the final day tomorrow.
George Garrett claimed a wicket on his first-class debut as Warwickshire reduced Somerset to 167 for five on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.
19-year-old Garrett has impressed Sport Director Paul Farbrace with his Second XI bowling in recent months and he will be delighted to see the right-arm seamer justify his selection.
Returning to the action from the Birmingham End, the former Shrewsbury school student bowled George Bartlett for 28 in the penultimate over before the close of play, piling more pressure on the visitors.
Having started the day looking to dismiss Warwickshire’s tail and engineer a positive result, Somerset will now be hoping to pass the follow-on total of 269 and bat for all of day three.
The second-placed side will have one eye on top spot holders Essex, who are being disrupted by weather in Canterbury, and with only three games remaining after this, every point is vital ahead of their final game shootout at Taunton.
Meanwhile, the home dressing room will be encouraged by events at Scarborough, where Yorkshire hold a strong advantage over bottom placed Nottinghamshire.
Another good day for the hosts, could lead them to all but securing their Division One status for another year.
The Bears reached 419 all out from 127 overs after Michael Burgess (52) and Jeetan Patel (25) put on a 66-run partnership to help drag their side from 338 for seven to 404 for eight.
The Taunton based side endured a day of frustration since overnight batsmen Rob Yates, who only added two to his total of 139 after facing seven balls, and Tim Ambrose (18) departed within 28 balls by the impressive Jack Brooks.
The Bears were on 313/6 and the prospect of a fourth batting point was in the balance before a one-day style assault from number seven batsman Michael Burgess turned the tide.
The 25-year-old struck four fours in a 20-run over off Craig Overton, prior to edging one of his deliveries on to his own stumps.
The attacking knock, which included nine fours, dragged the hosts to the commanding position, Patel (25) and Oliver Hannon-Dalby (13) advanced before they were caught by James Hildreth and Davies respectively off the bowling of Tom Abell.
Abell was immediately back in the action as an opener and lasted 21 balls as Brookes skittled his off stump for 10 when trying to leave.
With the short boundary in front of the Eric Hollies Stand, Somerset were scoring at 4.4 an over after 10, before Hannon-Dalby trapped James Hildreth LBW for six and forced Babar Azam in his first Championship fixture to chip to Brookes at midwicket the following ball.
The hat-trick delivery was well defended by former Warwickshire academy batsman Tom Banton, who edged a Will Rhodes seamer to ‘keeper Ambrose after a dogged 23 from 68 balls.
George Bartlett’s 59-run partnership with Worcestershire batsman Davies had looked to have put Somerset in a reasonable position, but Garrett’s removal of the 20-year-old thrusted the momentum back to Warwickshire.
Davies, who finished with an excellent unbeaten 89 from 155 balls, and new batsman Dom Bess will be a key partnership for both sides at the start of day three.
Day One – Close
Rob Yates fired his maiden first-class century as Warwickshire took a commanding position on day one of their Specsavers County Championship match against second placed Somerset at Edgbaston.
Closing on 303 for four, the Bears were led by the 19-year-old academy product, who looked assured as he reached 139* from 286 balls (22 fours), passing his previous first-class best of 91, which came at the beginning of July at Hampshire.
The Solihull-born left-hander is 32 days shy of his 20thbirthday and came the youngest Warwickshire batsman to score a ton since Sam Hain, who at the age of 18 years and 336 days, reached the total in his fifth match against Northants in 2014.
Yates will look to help the Bears pick-up more batting points in the morning, a position that might have seemed unlikely when Dom Sibley departed in the second over.
With plenty of eyes watching the 23-year-old ahead of the third Ashes Test at Emirates Headingley, Sibley found Roelof van der Merwe at gully, leaving the hosts on 0/1 after just 10 balls.
But with a short boundary in front of the Eric Hollies Stand, Warwickshire frustrated Somerset with an impressive 153 partnership from 232 balls between Yates and opener Will Rhodes.
Rhodes, who would eventually depart for 82 from 117 balls after being caught by wicket-keeper Steve Davies off the bowling of Craig Overton, struck 13 fours and one six in addition to Yates’ 10 fours.
That gave the Bears a platform and any Somerset hope of quick wickets were subsequently dashed by Sam Hain.
The England Lions batsman scored just 25 from 104 balls (three fours) before edging to Davies offvan der Merwe, but he had continued to frustrate a Somerset side who used six bowlers.
The partnership between Hain and Yates was 89, leaving the hosts on 242/3 and Adam Hose next in.
With the new ball available after 80 overs, the visitors persevered for an extra 5.2 overs before changing during Brooks’ 14thover.
The move brought success with Overton trapping Hose LBW for 17 from 36 balls (three fours), 20 balls later, earning him his second wicket.
But wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose (16*) followed the trend, striking two fours in a 28-run partnership with Yates.
The pair will be looking to add a further 47 runs in the first 14 overs tomorrow to earn a fourth batting point, before going in search of surpassing their highest score when batting first this season – 391/9 dec against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
Warwickshire have given a first-class debut to fast bowler George Garrett.
The 19-year-old from Hertfordshire has impressed with the second team this season taking 22 wickets in nine red ball matches.
The former Shrewsbury School student has also featured for Shropshire, playing against Dorset in the Unicorns Championship campaign where he took two wickets.