Wood century gives succour to Somerset

Northamptonshire 463-9 dec Somerset 224-2
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The Independent Online

Somerset's ambition to secure second place in the County Championship looked more millstone than milestone yesterday as they made painfully slow and at times tense progress in their quest.

Somerset's ambition to secure second place in the County Championship looked more millstone than milestone yesterday as they made painfully slow and at times tense progress in their quest.

They had entered this match needing just five points to clinch their highest place since their first Championship 110 years ago, one of those points was already in the bag from the first day and a second one followed with the sixth ball of the day when Richard Johnson had David Ripley caught behind. But they had to flog away for a long time before capturing the third one.

And before they had done so a couple of players reached personal milestones. First up was their opening batsman, Mike Hussey, who passed 2,000 runs for the season after half an hour's plod to the mark. Having got to 200 for the third time this season (one of those doubles was turned into a triple hundred), the Western Australian left-hander fell, caught behind by Robbie Turner.

That was his sixth catch in the innings – the third time that Turner has claimed six victims – but this time he managed to go one better when he had a hand in Somerset's eighth wicket.

A tense period followed with Somerset striving to get that vital ninth wicket and accompanying third bonus point before they ran out of overs. They managed it off the fourth ball of the last over that bonus points can be awarded when Michael Strong was bowled by Steffan Jones.

A further landmark was reached when their 20-year-old opener, Matthew Wood, scored his maiden first-class hundred in helping Somerset go within 26 runs of the all-important second batting bonus point. He shared in a century stand with his opening partner and captain Jamie Cox, then went on in untroubled fashion with Mike Burns and then his fellow Devonian Mark Lathwell in an unbroken half-century stand before a storm drove them in 239 behind.

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