Cricket: Cox confirms class as Somerset prevail

Somerset 315-8 Surrey 195 Somerset win by 120 runs
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JAMIE COX came to Somerset in the spring as a stranger to English cricket, writes David Field. Now that the Tasmanian has revealed his talents in the domestic game as a strokemaker and inspirational captain, it is curious why Australia, for all their strength in depth, have not included him in any senior squad.

To be the third-highest scorer in the Championship and a winner of two successive man-of-the-match NatWest Trophy awards would be enough of an international qualification if Cox happened to be English. But he has not given up hoping for the ultimate recognition, and can only enhance his profile by leading out Somerset in the NatWest Trophy final at Lord's on 29 August for his debut at the game's headquarters.

That will be the handsome reward for making a superb 114 at a run a ball in the 120-run trouncing of the tournament favourites, Surrey, at Taunton in Saturday's first semi-final.

Cox, a banking operations analyst outside of cricket, said: "I came here with no international credentials, no Test record. It was important to get off to a good start, so it was good to get a century in a Championship match just to show the people I could play. Things have gone OK, as a captain I see my role as that - being a leader and trying to do as I do as well as I say.

"Test cricket? It's something that's in my mind. The Australian top order is a little bit unsettled, if it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't, I won't lose any sleep. I'll still enjoy my cricket. I love playing here, I love playing at home.

"When I came here I knew we had a talented squad that had under-achieved a bit, but winning breeds self-belief and we are now stepping out on the pitch believing we are winners.

"It's a very exciting moment. We've won 14 out of 15 one-day games. We've got a terrific one-day side. I never expected it to get this exciting over here," Cox added.

"I would say this is probably one of the three most exciting cricket days of my life, to qualify for a Lord's final, although I've played in two Sheffield Shield finals back home."

Somerset's score of 315 for 8 was technically attainable by such a powerful batting unit as Surrey on a fast-scoring ground, but England's Andy Caddick produced two vital spells to keep them in check, and only Graham Thorpe, with 61, threatened to ruin Cox's Lord's outing as the Oval side were bowled out for 195.