A Day of Being Dismantled

There is no escaping it, Somerset are being taken apart by the championship leaders. After a first day when, to no one’s surprise, Somerset’s batting capitulated in all too familiar fashion their bowlers were made to labour long and hard with little reward as Surrey showed us what a proper county championship first innings should look like. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it particularly chastening.

I make no apologies for the featured image for this post being Jamie Overton. His departure from Somerset still leaves deep emotional wounds, and the first two days of Somerset’s latest game in the current round of the county championship, bizarrely shoehorned in the middle of the T20 group stages, have served only to re-open them.

If the recovery in the latter part of day one papered over the cracks of Somerset’s frail batting, hauling the first innings total from 95-8 to 180 there was no escaping that Surrey did pretty much as they pleased on day one at Taunton. A chastening day for all Somerset supporters made all the harder by the fact that one of our very own played a significant part in the visitors’ domination.

Jamie Overton was superb combining pace and hostility with control only took three wickets but he was also the bowler who caused Josh Davey to be forced from the game with concussion. 

This was the Jamie Overton we had seen in glimpses in his time at Somerset, a bowler who when in rhythm is as quick as any on the circuit. Memories of Headingley 2018, which I’ve mentioned before here, when Jamie bowled Somerset to a fine win on the last day.  Those that know these things say that Surrey have shortened Jamie’s run a touch and with that has come better control. Boy was he frightening, providing the perfect exclamation point on a fine Surrey bowling attack which never gave this beleaguered Somerset batting side no room to breathe.

If Jamie can maintain this form for his adopted county the England selectors will be looking very carefully at him. To be honest if he bowls like this in an England shirt he could secure a proper test career.

There was less good news for the older twin though. Deprived of one of the key parts of their bowling attack overnight there was more bad news at the start of the second day when Craig Overton was also failed by the concussion protocol, also a result of Jamie’s bowling. Marchant de Lange was called into the squad which, while Craig is a great loss to the Somerset attack at any time the home side were fortunate to have the bowler who was signed to replace the younger twin on a like-for-like basis.

With Kasey Aldridge replacing Josh Davey Somerset achieved the dubious distinction of being the first side in English domestic cricket to have to make two concussion replacements in the same game, typical Somerset!

The morning session saw Rory burns continue where he left off on the first day moving smoothly from 35 to 97 in the company of, for the most part of Ben Geddes who had replaced Hashim Amla who was too unwell to leave the team hotel. While none of the bowlers offered anywhere near the threat Jamie Overton had posed they did at least demonstrate a fair degree of control. 151-2 at lunch at less than 3 an over was a fine effort but the fact remained that Surrey were already just 29 behind with eight wickets in hand.

There was a period of optimism in the early afternoon when the lunchtime pair of Burns and Smith were both dismissed leaving Surrey four down and just 2 runs ahead but Will Jacks in particular continued the batting lesson easing to 45 by tea by which time he and Cameron Steel had extended the lead to 67 and negotiated the first 10 overs of the second new ball.

Any hope, feint even as it was, was erased in a final session which saw 135 more runs added, Jordan Clark moving to a fine unbeaten 63. If you are searching for crumbs of comfort at least the destructive threat of Will Jacks and that man Jamie Overton were both dismissed before the close but if Hashim Amla is well enough to resume tomorrow it could get really ugly even before Somerset bat again.

Odds on a three-day innings defeat anyone?