Cricket: Feeble Somerset roll over and die

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The Independent Online
Somerset 74 and 112 Leicestershire 271 Leicestershire win by an innings and 85 runs

LEICESTERSHIRE, WELL aware that they must win at least five of their six remaining matches to stay in contention for the Championship, began by disposing of Somerset here yesterday with two days and a full session to spare.

James Ormond emerging with match figures of 9 for 62 and Vince Wells (6 for 42) applied the coup de grace. Somerset, dismissed in 28 overs in their first innings, held on for 51 the second time and were left to contemplate a performance lamentably short of footwork or application.

Worse, they seemed to lack any kind of appetite for saving the game and it was no surprise to learn inquiries had been made about golf on Saturday.

Cricket has its own way of dealing with such a feeble mental approach. With the pitch looking a lighter shade of pale after its morning mow and the ball only swinging moderately, any self-respecting side should have dug in.

Maybe Somerset's confidence was at a low ebb after their first-innings shambles. Whatever was going through their minds, their captain, Peter Bowler, soon set the agenda by getting out in the third over to a very wide ball from David Millns.

After that no one, apart from Richard Harden, was prepared to battle it out. Poor stroke selection or the lack of discipline brought one downfall after another and in 27 overs they were reduced to 51 for 5. When Harden's selectivity at last let him down and he steered a half- volley into square leg's hands that was virtually that.

Let nothing devalue Leicestershire's purposeful cricket, though. They looked like a team full of self-belief and their out cricket was stunningly effective. They held 16 catches, some quite brilliant, and dropped nothing, at least as far as the distant observer could tell. Moreover, they have in Ormond a fast bowler who is fitter than most at this late stage of the season.

The other good news for Leicestershire was the return to form of Darren Maddy, who carefully paced himself to his second Championship hundred of the season from 206 balls. So carefully, in fact, that he was clearly very angry with himself when he got out hooking, even though his dismissal owed everything to a brilliant catch on the boundary by Andrew Caddick.