Gough quickens the pulse

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The Independent Online
HENRY BLOFELD

reports from Taunton

Yorkshire 413

Somerset 248-4

The spirit and example of Darren Gough gave the morning's play an exciting momentum; after lunch, Somerset's two young openers, Mark Lathwell and Marcus Trescothick, showed how much their batting will benefit from a healthy dose of self-imposed discipline; and there was also the chance for a good look at Richard Stemp's left-arm spin.

The pitch spun less than it looked as if it would on Thursday, although both captains relied mainly on their slow bowlers. The Somerset spinners got through 107 overs between them out of a total of 150 and Yorkshire served up 42 overs out of 75.

The Yorkshire batting had lost its way in the last session on Thursday. Now, the entry of the ever-jaunty Gough may have reminded some of the arrival on this ground of the larger but equally enthusiastic Ian Botham in the mid-1970s.

The comparisons must stop there, although Gough took on Mushtaq Ahmed and Harvey Trump, using his feet to drive and never being afraid to hit the ball in the air. Just as important, his ebullience rubbed off on his partners. Paul Grayson helped him add 79 and Peter Hartley later took Yorkshire past 400, while Gough's 49 came from 63 balls.

It was lovely to see Mushtaq bowling as chirpily as ever. When he is of the right mind he is the most engaging of bowlers and his innings figures of 51-16-126-5 had a pre-war look about them.

When Somerset batted, Lathwell and Trescothick gave them their best start of the season. Both are exciting stroke-makers and are especially strong off the front foot, although Lathwell hooks well and sometimes from high on his toes manages to force the ball away off the back foot.

Their ability has never been in doubt but bowlers feel they always have a chance against them as they go for almost everything. Yesterday though, they were rather more deliberate than usual, as if someone important had just had a word in their ears.

They batted well against the seam of Gough and Hartley. Then, at 44 for no wicket, Stemp came on and showed a nice looping flight and better control than usual. At 56 Trescothick played back when he would have been better forward to a quicker ball and was caught behind.

Peter Bowler, a valuable acquisition for Somerset, helped Lathwell add 60 before Lathwell pulled Hartley to square leg. Yorkshire's other two spinners, Michael Vaughan and Grayson, were given a good bowl later and Vaughan had Bowler caught behind as he tried to turn an off-break to leg. Then, for no good reason, Andy Hayhurst chipped Stemp to mid-on, and before the day ended Richard Harden had reached a fine 50.

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