Cricket: Tavare's star turn

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The Independent Online
Somerset 185 and 289-5; Glamorgan252

ALTHOUGH the run rate rarely rose above two an over, Somerset's batting yesterday was never devoid of interest. The state of the game at the start of the day demanded a long innings as much as runs. And in the captain, Chris Tavare, Somerset had the man to meet the situation.

Able to push forward with seemingly endless patience, he would suddenly crack a rasping drive through the offside to keep the Somerset total ticking over. His hundred, the 48th of his first-class career, may have taken 321 balls but it was worth every minute of its five and a half hours.

Resuming yesterday, Somerset were 67 runs ahead in their second innings at 124 for 3. And with the forecast threatening rain, but the morning skies indicating otherwise, Tavare, 33 not out, was in something of a dilemma, uncertain whether runs or occupation were the more valuable commodity. A target of 250 to 300 could find Glamorgan wanting, even with Viv Richards in their line-up, but only if the equation were balanced with the clock.

Tavare went about setting it with all the pleasure of a sixth- form master giving detention to recalcitrant fourth formers. You always had the feeling that Glamorgan, like the fourth formers, would be doing his bidding for some time. When the rain did arrive and end play half an hour before tea, Somerset were 222 ahead and the match well poised for an interesting finish tomorrow.

Before lunch Tavare received support from two left-handers, Nick Folland and Neil Burns. Folland, though finding fieldsmen more regularly than his captain, batted with considerable style for his 35. Nicely balanced, and not committing himself by moving too soon, he played his strokes with a sure touch. A powerful hook off Mark Frost showed his control.

The shot he was out to, a pull aimed wide of midwicket, looked equally fine but it produced an even finer catch by Robert Croft. Quickly into position, Folland had played the ball down but Croft, diving forward, got both hands to the ball before it landed.

A similarly superb diving catch by Roland Lefebvre at long leg accounted for Burns, although the impetuous Somerset wicketkeeper was fortunate to survive two early deliveries from Frost and Croft. To Glamorgan's chagrin, however, Graham Rose got his head down to help Tavare establish Somerset's position.