Cricket: Millns delivers the right line: Somerset struggle

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The Independent Online
Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209-6


SOMERSET had their work cut out to lay bat on ball after winning the toss at Grace Road yesterday. They will not be alone this season if David Millns, Alan Mullally and Gordon Parsons maintain this form and, more importantly, if the groundsman, Lol Spence, keeps producing this type of pitch.

Maybe they have contributed generously to the testimonial fund Spence, a Leicestershire batsman in the 1950s, is sharing with Parsons; or, more likely, Leicestershire know their attack is equipped to take on anyone and can prepare pitches accordingly.

Once a cloudless morning had given way to overcast skies, which helped a greenish surface retain its juice, Somerset must have wondered why they were batting anyway as the ball bounced, often steeply, moved around and sometimes flew through or over the slips.

Ian Fletcher and Mark Lathwell had started with a deceptive flourish, putting the looseners away with some style. But Millns, coming down the hill with the breeze at his back, got rid of them with deliveries which illustrated his excellent line around off stump.

All of this was watched with interest by Ray Illingworth, who was starting his last look round before helping to choose the England party for next week's one-day internationals.

Though Millns had run in convincingly, it was when Mullally switched to the downhill end that Somerset eyes must have popped. From not much short of a length, the ball often whistled through at chest height. They played and missed, they nicked him here, they nicked him there, but no matter what he did Mullally just could not take a wicket.