SOMERSET, to borrow a phrase from J B Priestley, have been here before. A weakened attack and a batting line-up short of confidence in an unprolific, wet summer has left them looking exposed here, giving Yorkshire some hope of achieving their first Championship win of the season.
If they do, no little credit will go to their acting captain, David Byas, who handled his bowlers with a mixture of subtlety and imagination after Yorkshire, batting on and having to work hard against the second new ball, had been led to 424 by Richard Blakey's fluent 84. Before Yorkshire's seam bowlers settled down, Somerset's reply was aggressively brisk. Then Mark Lathwell was leg before playing a shade fast-footed across the line and Mark Robinson produced a good ball, around off stump, which had Richard Harden caught behind.
Under normal circumstances, Robinson might have stayed in the attack, but the sight of two left handers prompted Byas to introduce Richard Stemp, who found just enough wear and tear from the bowler's footmarks to make life less than straightforward for Marcus Trescothick and Nick Folland.
Trescothick is only 18. But, standing up to his full 6ft 2in and showing the quicker bowlers a very straight bat, he looked decidedly competent against the new ball. However, just when he probably thought the hardest bit was over, Stemp managed to straighten one out of the rough and win a leg before decision.
After that, Andy Hayhurst and Robert Turner, whose wicketkeeping is a definite plus in what looks like being a transitional season for Somerset, were obliged to get their heads down with the follow-on target of 275 looking very distant indeed. The return of the quicker bowlers produced a fair amount that could be ignored until Turner, neither forward nor back, was palpably leg before to Peter Hartley, whereupon Graham Rose joined his captain in getting his nose to the grindstone.Reuse content