County Championship round-up: Caribbean-bound Broad limbers up on Somerset

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The Independent Online

England's Stuart Broad gave himself the perfect tonic ahead of Sunday's departure for the World Twenty20 by ripping through Somerset's batting with a brilliant spell of hostile fast bowling at Trent Bridge last night.

The explosive all-rounder tore the heart out of the Somerset innings by taking five wickets in the space of 28 deliveries, including one dramatic burst of three in seven balls in which James Hildreth and Zander de Bruyn went in consecutive balls before Craig Kieswetter, England's wicketkeeper in the Caribbean, fell after a brief but painful ordeal.

Kieswetter survived Broad's hat-trick attempt, rapped on the pads by a ball that was drifting down the leg side, but then took a bang on the side of the helmet. Clearly unsettled, he tried to move away from the fifth ball he faced, again banged in short by Broad, but could only deflect it to Chris Read behind the stumps.

Broad, who also accounted for the opener Arul Suppiah with a short ball fended to third slip, rounded off a superb response to a disappointing first day with the ball – when he conceded 79 runs in his 19 overs – by claiming his fifth wicket thanks to a magnificent catch at short leg, Samit Patel sticking a hand above his head to snatch a shot from Peter Trego off the meat of the bat.

Fortunately for Somerset, captain Marcus Trescothick was let off the hook on 18 when Neil Edwards spilled a slip chance with the score still 33 for 5. Trescothick's half-century has enabled the visitors to extend their lead to 144.

At the Riverside the young left-arm spinner Danny Briggs removed both Durham openers as the champions slipped from 108 without loss to 146 for 3 as they attempted to match Hampshire's 345. Ian Blackwell's 83 helped close the gap to 61 by the close with five wickets still standing.

At Chelmsford, Paul Horton spent a careful four hours over 123 to put Lancashire in charge on a tricky pitch. England paceman James Anderson added to his six first-innings wickets by taking two more before the close, leaving Essex 90 runs behind.

In the Second Division, 21-year-old wicketkeeper John Simpson hit a maiden first-class ton before Middlesex declared at 442 for 8 against Northamptonshire at the County Ground. Born in Bury, the left-handed batsman represented Haslingden in senior Lancashire League cricket at the age of 10 and played for England's Under-19s as a 16-year-old. He was passed over by Lancashire and had an unsuccessful trial with Nottinghamshire before being taken on by Middlesex, for whom he made 87 on debut last September.

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