Rose the thorn in Byas' side

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The Independent Online

High pressure moved in from the west on a blustery wind yesterday afternoon after the storms of Wednesday, and as Graham Rose batted on and on, it made itself felt chiefly on the toiling Yorkshiremen.

High pressure moved in from the west on a blustery wind yesterday afternoon after the storms of Wednesday, and as Graham Rose batted on and on, it made itself felt chiefly on the toiling Yorkshiremen.

Too many bouncers were petulant rather than tactical, and as he clipped and drove his way to a rousing century, Rose enjoyed one or two frank and intimate midwicket conversations with the visiting pacemen. After 66 overs had been washed away from the first day, and a further eight lost in a late-morning flurry yesterday, a good-sized crowd were at last treated to some boisterous entertainment in the last fewsessions.

Just a few seasons ago, Rose looked to be the best all-rounder in the country, worthy of an England one-day cap or two. But he was already the wrong side of 30, and now at the age of 36 his knees are feeling the strain. It did not show yesterday, when he followed an unbeaten 82 against Durham with a confident performance that frustrated Yorkshire.

Rose's century was the 10th of a career that has shown a taste for this opposition - his maiden 100 came in 1991 against Yorkshire here at Taunton, and there was another at Bradford in 1994. He came to the wicket when the visitors had Somerset pinned to the ropes on 115 for 5, and in significant stands with Rob Turner and, above all, Peter Trego, who made comfortably the best score of his fledgling career, Rose watched calmly as the Yorkshire skipper, David Byas, permutated his bowlers with ever-decreasing conviction.

The left-arm spinner Ian Fisher at last rapped Trego on the back pad and the 19-year-old's 132-run alliance with Rose was over. By this time Somerset were just six runs short of a fourth batting point, although in mid-morning even one had seemed a distant luxury.

Rose survived one chance on 29 when Matthew Hoggard followed a softening-up bouncer with a vicious rising ball. It ballooned in slow motion to where third slip would have been and Byas, moving briskly from first slip, could only fingertip it. There were no further alarms until, after four-and-a-half-hours at the crease, Rose played a tired drive at Fisher and looped the ball to Anthony McGrath at mid-off.

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