Cricket: Mushtaq leads the spree

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire. .244 and 209

Somerset. . 235 and 142-6

WICKETS have been falling in heavy clusters here and the trend continued yesterday when Yorkshire were bombed out during a morning of to-ing and fro-ing in which seven went down for 48 and again in the afternoon, when Somerset had five back in the bunker for 56 while pursuing a target of 219.

You would think from all this that the pitch was littered with craters but there was nothing to justify such carnage. Both sides appeared to have fallen into large holes of their own making and then spent some time climbing back out again.

In Somerset's case this came after they had put themselves in a position to record their seventh successive Championship victory on this ground. Meanwhile, thanks to a fighting unbeaten 33 from Graham Rose, there was a bit of mileage still to go tomorrow, Somerset 77 runs from their objective and Yorkshire four wickets away from theirs.

Who to put the money on is anyone's guess but Rose, who top- scored for Somerset in the first innings with 41, did a superb job after Darren Gough and Jeremy Batty had made inroads. Gough, who so far has collected 4 for 36, started the latest collapse by removing Mark Lathwell, Nick Folland and Richard Harden in the space of 13 deliveries.

The seamer also accounted for Neil Burns to end a half-century partnership for the sixth wicket, Batty chipping in when removing Andy Hayhurst and Chris Tavare. Rose and Mushtaq Ahmed, who despatched Batty for three consecutive boundaries at one stage, meanwhile lived to fight another day after making good their escapes from dropped catches.

It was Mushtaq who was bang on target initially when collecting three more victims to finish with 6 for 86 and bring his tally for the season to beyond the 50 mark.

Yorkshire resistance was low after Mushtaq and Neil Mallender had finished off the tail by sharing three wickets in eight balls, but it was higher earlier while Richie Richardson was at the crease. The West Indian had begun to repair the damage at 63 for 3 by raising the overnight lead to 110. And Richardson, criticised for a rather carefree approach, had begun to produce some useful scores which this month included a century off Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

The overnight break now probably helped to concentrate his mind and he resumed on 28 having been given a life when dropped at slip by Tavare off Mushtaq when still in single figures. For a while things went smoothly enough, too, Richardson picking four boundaries off Rose to reach his fifty.

Richardson, together with Richard Blakey, helped see the fourth-wicket stand reach 98 when Andy Caddick found the edge of the bat and this time Tavare made no mistake. The lead was then 170, but a collapse was at hand.

In the next over Blakey, on 36, was caught via bat and pad off Mushtaq, who also snapped up the sixth wicket by removing Peter Hartley. When Gough's leg stump was plucked out by Caddick, Yorkshire were 188 for 7.

And so it continued, Mallender marking his return to the attack by sending back Craig White with the first ball of the 79th over and Batty with the last, which left Mushtaq to wrap up the innings.