Cricket: Carr in fast lane

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The Independent Online
Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .248 and 33-3

Middlesex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388-8 dec

JOHN CARR and Paul Weekes added 264 in just over60 overs for the seventh wicket - the highest for that wicket this season - to rescue Middlesex. Coming together at 123-6, they battered a feeble Somerset attack, enabling Middlesex to declare 140 ahead. Later, Fraser and Tufnell helped ram home the advantage leaving Somerset on 33-3 at close.

Carr scored 171 not out, striking 25 fours and one six. He has a ungainly stance, but an unerring eye and this was an impressive effort. Weekes - who was picked at the last moment as a replacement for the injured John Emburey - was finally dismissed for 117. It was his maiden first-class century.

Earlier, Somerset had started brightly, hostile bowling from Andrew Caddick reducing Middlesex to 60 for four, still 38 runs shy of saving the follow-on. Mike Gatting was his first victim, failing to play a stroke to a ball that clipped his off-bail. Mark Ramprakash was the second when he was adjudged to have touched a ball that swung back up the hill at him and down the leg side into the gloves of Robert Turner.

Between them the two England hopefuls had contributed six. Neither is likely to play at The Oval but one of them is almost certain to go to Australia. Given the selectors' predilection for picking oldsters it will probably be Gatting, since 'Australia is no place for boys.'

Sadly for Somerset, Caddick received little support. Adrianus van Troost bowled fast, short and very wide of the off-stump. He also produced a plethora of no-balls, allowing him the opportunity to bowl an extra ball fast, short and very wide of the off-stump. In eight overs before lunch he conceded more than 50 runs. Mark Feltham, the nightwatchman, took advantage, reaching 34 before he lashed a typical Van Troost delivery to Mark Lathwell.

The other villain was a munificent Harvey Trump with his far from beguiling off-spinners. But if their bowling was poor, then Somerset's fielding was lamentable. Both Harden and Ecclestone dropped simple chances, the former allowing the ball to evade his hands and hit him in the stomach when Weekes was on seven. They have only themselves to blame.