Rose flowers after rain

Gloucestershire 119-4 v Somerset
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The Independent Online
The clouds over the County Ground have not been confined to the skies. Gloucestershire, eager to regain the leadership of the County Championship, had had to watch precious time trickling down the windows when rain washed out the first day.

The weather relented yesterday, but when they were shown the pitch that Somerset had decided to use Gloucestershire were understandably unhappy. It was the same one that had been used for the tour match against the Australians at the weekend. Although only 166 overs had been possible, there were areas of rough which were conveniently placed to suit a leg spinner and worry any batsman.

Since Somerset have one of the best leggies in the world in Mushtaq Ahmed, Gloucestershire's reluctance to tackle him on a patchwork of a pitch was understandable.

They also pointed out that it was not the original choice for the match, and the regulations prohibit a pitch being used for successive four-day matches.

Gloucestershire's refusal, entirely within the rules, to agree to Somerset's choice came at a price though. Instead of starting at the scheduled 11am, they had to kick their heels for a further five hours while the original pitch, which had been exposed to the torrential downpour of the last week, was mopped, mown and rolled to a dampish finish.

Appropriately, given the soggy conditions, everything went swimmingly for Gloucestershire while Tony Wright and Matt Windows compiled 61 runs, the county's highest opening partnership of the season and only the second time the first wicket had realised 50 or more runs this year.

Then disaster. Graham Rose tempted Wright, he nibbled and went, caught behind for 30. Windows kept out the Somerset attack for a while but when he lost Tim Hancock, another victim for Rose, it triggered an alarming collapse.

Gloucestershire then lost Monte Lynch and Windows in three balls. Lynch's was an unlucky dismissal, he appeared to chop a yorker length ball from Rose on to his boot, whence it rebounded on to his stumps.

The fears about Mushtaq were confirmed when he did Windows with his googly. Fortunately for Gloucestershire the captain, Mark Alleyne, and the Australian Shaun Young survived to the close.

Derbyshire have quashed a pounds 1,500 fine imposed on the former captain Kim Barnett for comments he made following the departure of Dean Jones.

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