Tea report: South African 515-3 dec & 215-6; Somerset 195-6 & 76-2

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The sun-soaked spectators were awoken from their post-lunch snooze in rude fashion. The South African second innings, and this match, had been ambling to a meaningless draw. There was even the prospect of the Tourists batting right through to the close.

But at 2.25pm with the South Africans 481 runs ahead acting captain Ashwell Prince declared the innings closed, leaving Somerset a minimum of 46 overs in which to chase the impossible.

The odds were rather more stacked in South Africa’s favour to run through the Somerset batting in that time and Morné Morkel took the first wicket in the third over of Somerset’s second innings.

Opener Neil Edwards was guilty of a loose drive and edged a regulation catch to Neil McKenzie at first slip with the score on 16. It was shaping up to be a good news day for the Tourists.

But Arul Suppiah and James Hildreth compiled 46 runs before the latter chased a wide ball in Andre Nel’s first over. It was then left to Wes Durston and Suppiah to steer Somerset to tea still needing an improbable 406 runs to win.

The latest medical reports indicated that Jacques Kallis is making steady progress from his elbow injury and captain Graeme Smith was looking set to play in the second warm-up game against Middlesex at Uxbridge, a match which starts on Friday.

They will head east with a great deal of optimism. Neil McKenzie, who is expected to open the batting in the first test against England at Lord’s a week later, managed to put the disappointment of his first innings duck behind him with a cautious 63 that at least helped get him back into nick.

But as entertainment went the South Africans' second innings was poor fare. They had started with the cushion of a 266-run lead but opted to crawl at a snail’s pace in the first hour of the day, accelerating to sluggish at best thereafter. It was left to left arm spinner Paul Harris to lift proceedings with a 48-ball 50. Once he had reached the mark the declaration, and more torment for Somerset from the South African pace battery, began.