Like so many of the gear changes required by the chaotic domestic fixture list, the current round of County Championship matches appears as a shock to the system in the middle of a three-week run of Twenty20 games. But for Stuart Broad, it may have come at just the right time.
Without it, he would have to concede that his Test career is in serious danger of being interrupted when England face India in the first Test on Thursday week. It might be anyway, given the loss of form that led to him being left out of Saturday's fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka.
But at least he has the chance to put in some corrective overs for Nottinghamshire. Having had his card marked by the England selectors last week, Broad rang Mick Newell, the county's director of cricket, last Friday, stressing how keen he was to play.
"He is certainly not here under duress," Newell said. "He knows his place is under threat for the first time in a while but he has responded in the right way. He is not going around thinking 'what am I doing here?' You would guess that it is a three-way race between him, Tim Bresnan and maybe Steven Finn to be third seamer at Lord's and he is eager to make that place his."
Broad took a wicket with his seventh ball, pitched up and nudged to second slip by Arul Suppiah. But it would be incorrect to report that all went well. On a pitch of a not much lighter green than its uncut neighbours, he bowled with variety and, for the most part, accuracy in an encouraging first spell but the subsequent ones were less impressive and, nursing an injured left heel, he had to leave the field for his right ankle to be strapped, although the new problem is thought to be only superficial.
Yet there was consolation for Geoff Miller, England's chief selector, whose Broad-watch was at least illuminated by centuries from Craig Kieswetter and James Hildreth.
Somerset, asked to bat first, slipped to 48 for 4 during a difficult opening session and Kieswetter rode his luck with a succession of edges short or wide of the slips. But thereafter the fifth-wicket pair batted with considerable merit in conditions that were never entirely comfortable and put on 290 in 69 overs before Broad, bowling around the wicket to a heavily populated leg side field, had Hildreth out for 137 to a hashed attempted hook that Chris Read caught with a running dive at leg-gully. Kieswetter, on 151, needs three to set a new career best.Reuse content