Pollard cuts down Somerset's attack

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The Independent Online

reports from Trent Bridge

Somerset 366 Nottinghamshire 342-3

The full extent of Somerset's problems came home to them here yesterday as Nottinghamshire laid down the makings of a substantial total in conditions as unforgiving as any fielding side may meet this summer.

Deprived by long term injury of Andrew Caddick and Adrianus van Troost, Somerset have had Graham Rose and Matthew Dimond knocked out of this match by illness. Mushtaq Ahmed, though playing, is suffering from flu. How they must wish they still had Neil Mallender.

With nothing in the pitch for them and the outfield like glass, those left to form Somerset's attack could do little to contain their opponents, who will not feel satisfied with less than 500 on the board today after centuries yesterday from each of their openers. The partnership of 233 between Paul Pollard and Tim Robinson is Nottinghamshire's highest for the first wicket this season.

Pollard missed the early part of the season with torn side muscles and Nottinghamshire look considerably stronger now he is back. He is already in good order. His week began with half centuries on consecutive days in three competitions, two of them unbeaten, and he played only a handful of false strokes here, gathering 21 fours in four hours before driving a return catch to Harvey Trump, the off-spinner, whose economy deserved reward.

In Pollard's absence, Robinson has been "a rock" in the words of his coach, Alan Ormrod. He has not always been the most popular captain but there is no one his team-mates would sooner be batting for than in a crisis. He reached 1,000 runs for the season in first-class games at 111 yesterday, more than 800 of those having come in 11 innings.

So secure did he seem yesterday that last weekend's 196 against Kent looked as if it might be threatened, but the heat took its toll and it was a weary stroke to midwicket that brought Mark Lathwell his wicket.

The blazing sun clearly got to Somerset, too. After lunch, as the thermometer nudged 32C (90F), it was their idea of a jape to take to the field wearing long-sleeved sweaters, almost to a man. And they call themselves professionals.