Somebody Told Me There Would Be Days Like These

Somerset’s bid for the 2021 County Championship resumed at Taunton today but the difficulty of succeeding in that bid without Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory was clear for all to see.

County Championship Division One, Taunton, August 30th to September 2nd, Day 1, Nottinghamshire 282-6

This was for the most part a pretty anonymous day of championship cricket. Neither side took a grip on the game with the first two sessions being almost identical. Somerset, lacking their two most penetrative bowlers of recent time due to test duty and injury were forced into an unfamiliar game plan that was based on attrition. With Overton and Gregory’s wicket taking power removed there really was little option.

Jack Brooks took both wickets in the opening session, or more correctly was the beneficiary of poor shot execution form the Notts openers. Tom Abell and Josh Davey picked up a wicket apiece in the afternoon and when Abell again and de Lange struck at the start of the final session Notts were 208-6 with the new ball imminent it seemed like the strategy was working.

But Tom Moores and an increasingly belligerent Liam Patterson-White added 74 for the seventh wicket in just 13 overs as the Somerset bowlers were unable to maintain control. That word control is important, it was the best that the home side were able to achieve not at any stage were there able to nudge the needle into threatening as is so often the case when Craig is operating.

It is abundantly clear that Somerset need at least two of this bowling attack to improve significantly over the course of the game if they are to have a chance. Somerset will need to bowl Notts out quickly and cheaply second time around if they are to gain the upper hard in the game.  Of course it is hard to know what constitutes a good score until both sides have batted, especially if this surface is similar to those we have seen earlier in the season it is likely that it will progressively easier to bat on as the game progresses. But Somerset’s batsmen have some heavy responsibility on their shoulders already.

A draw in this game won’t be a disaster by any means, especially against a side who were the highest points scorers in the first phase of the competition. But to achieve that Somerset will have to bat with the same discipline and application that their opponents showed today. 

Notts will be looking to extend their first innings well into day 2 and effectively bat Somerset out of the game. Somerset will want to quickly end the Notts innings and then bat close to the visitors total by the end of the day if they are to have a chance of coming out on top.  All of which points to day 2 being very important to the outcome of the game.  

There will be many Somerset supporters worried this evening that a first innings batting collapse would put them far behind in the game. And that is understandable. But if the telnet available delivers the runs Notts could yet find themselves under pressure.

Oh the joy to have the ebbs and flows of a four day game back.