Cricket: Trescothick on edge

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Gloucestershire 355 Somerset 269-5

MARCUS TRESCOTHICK, with an innings of 92 that contained more edges than a broken pot, to paraphrase Fred Trueman's earthier description, won Surrey's gratitude by blocking Gloucestershire's march. The big, strong left-hander, dropped at slip off Courtney Walsh when 37, has ensured a fourth day.

To Bristol eyes, Somerset are here to provide sacrificial slaughter as Gloucestershire march on to the title, a view of cricket that has probably lasted since the days of Gilbert Jessop and Sammy Woods.

At first all went according to this script, Friday's bright sunshine hidden by lowering cloud and Gloucestershire's tail adding 44 at a run a minute, ensuring a fourth bonus point.

In that time Martyn Ball added 37, neatly manoeuvring the strike, not always connecting, but clobbering enough of the looser deliveries. Neither of Somerset's opening bowlers were amused: Andy Caddick had bowled Jon Lewis, and Andre van Troost, smarting at Ball's antics, gained some revenge by removing Mike Smith.

Caddick even gave the off-spinner two nasty short deliveries, possible confirmation that the pitch was flatter and easier than on the first day. Eventually, Ball was tempted into another hook, top-edged, and Caddick took a high return catch. He has now taken 38 wickets in his last four matches.

Somerset then had an awkward 21 overs to lunch, losing Peter Bowler early to a stinging slip catch at 10, but Trescothick and Piran Holloway clung on for an invaluable 61 runs.

By the afternoon, Lewis had found a better line - cheered by a brilliant catch behind that removed Holloway - to trap Gregor Kennis. Smith, too, perked up, dismissing Keith Parsons and seeing Michael Burns dropped at slip when on nine.

Trescothick, too, after a wild start in which three boundaries arrived by snicks through the slips, settled in to punch more boundaries between extra and cover. He had reached 92 when he edged his last, leaving Somerset on 191 for 5 and needing only 14 to avoid the follow-on. Burns, the other escapee, went on to a career-best 83.