Somerset 372 all out (Trescothick 116, Petersen 76, Gregory 47, Compton 41, Myburgh 37*, Jordan 5-76); Sussex 25-1 (Wells 14*, Thomas 1-10)
Sussex 3pts, Somerset 3pts.
by Jeremy Blackmore
We always knew it was only a matter of time. Class is permanent.
The moment finally came mid-way through the afternoon session at Hove today when Marcus Tresothick pulled Jimmy Anyon for four and then found the gap for two more to bring up his first 100 since September 2012.
Somerset fans had not given up believing. Few players command such respect and affection as Marcus Trescothick.
Such is that affection for Marcus in the game as a whole, that it was more than just the Somerset faithful following the skipper’s progress today, willing him on as he moved ever closer to three figures.
We wanted him to silence the doubters. But we also wanted to see Banger back, enjoying scoring runs again for Somerset. Big runs.
The signs had been good on Sunday evening as he saw off a testing new ball spell, hitting seven fours on the way to an overnight 39 not out.
Resuming this morning, he built a big 139-run partnership with Alviro Petersen, bringing up his 57th first class hundred off 214 balls with 12 fours in the process.
It was an excellent knock in bowler-friendly conditions against one of the best attacks on the county circuit, with Chris Jordan firmly pressing his case for an England Test place and the batsmen having to work for their runs.
Providing the backbone of the Somerset innings today, Marcus also helped put other ghosts to rest. Last season he recorded the first pair of his career at home against Sussex, while the corresponding away fixture at Horsham was the nadir of Somerset’s 2013 season. Skittled out for 76 in the first innings, we succumbed to an innings defeat within two days.
With Alviro making 76 off 135 balls and Lewis Gregory and Johann Myburgh sharing a spirited 75-run last-wicket stand, Somerset took their eventual score on to 372 this evening, some way above the 250 Dave Nosworthy thought would be a challenging total on this wicket.
There was an added bonus before the close when Alfonso Thomas managed to to nip out danger man and Sussex captain Ed Joyce, fresh from scores of 117 and 151* in two innings in the same match against Warwickshire earlier this month.
Somerset had resumed this morning on 83-3 with Alfonso Thomas, the second of two nightwatchmen going out to bat with Tres. After being dropped in the first over of the day, Thommo was quickly plumb lbw to Jordan for four.
At that stage, our score read 89-4, but there were of course still plenty of batsmen to come – including probably the best numbers 9,10, 11 in county cricket in Myburgh, Trego and Gregory – with 23 first-class hundreds between them!
Petersen joined his skipper and despite a couple of costly (for Sussex!) dropped catches – by Joyce at slip off Jordan on 7 and another by wicket-keeper Brown on 29 – Alviro stayed with the skipper to score his first half century of the summer, hitting 10 fours in total and coming down the track to Zaidi to hit him over the top for six.
The morning was very much Somerset’s session, the visitors adding more than 90 runs for the loss of just one wicket and both batsmen well set.
In the afternoon, Trescothick and Petersen took their partnership past 100 and collected their first batting point before Banger reached his personal landmark.
The partnership was then quickly broken though. With two overs to go until the new ball, Alviro was stumped off Zaidi and we were 228-5.
The new ball was taken and Magoffin used it to account for Trescothick, who lost his middle stump playing on as he tried to drive the veteran Australian seamer. Marcus’ final score of 116 came in 329 minutes, off 234 balls with 14 fours and he received warm applause as he left the field.
At that stage, we were 253-6, with two batting points in the bag and a long ‘tail’ still to come – how many more could we make?
Sussex though, took advantage of the new ball to pick up two more quick wickets before tea. First Hildreth was done for by the extra bounce to get an edge through to Joyce at slip for 18 and we were 267-7.
Then Kieswetter was out for 5, Joyce taking another catch at slip off the first ball from the returning Lewis. 267-8.
We went into tea on 286-6, having scored 112 runs in the session; but the loss of four wickets would have given Sussex considerable cheer heading into the pavilion.
After tea it looked as if there was going to be a speedy end to the Somerset innings as Pete Trego was bowled by Anyon for 11. Somerset were then 297-9, needing another three runs to pick up a third batting point.
But Lewis Gregory, in the unlikely batting position of number 11, clearly had other ideas. He blasted his way to 47 off just 51 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes, sharing in a 75-run partnership with Myburgh who also made some valuable unbeaten 37 of his own, including five fours. The pair narrowly missed out (by two runs) on a fourth batting point, but took the Somerset score up to 372.
There was a tricky 11-over period for the Sussex openers to face this evening and with an attacking Somerset field, they will have been glad to go into stumps with just one wicket down. Somerset, inspired by their own talisman captain’s century, will be hoping that the loss of the Sussex skipper will lead to further breakthroughs in the home side’s batting ranks tomorrow morning.
After the close, assistant coach and bowling specialist Jason Kerr told the Somerset website: “This morning on a wicket that was offering something to the seamers the plan was to bat for as long as we could and try to post a total and I think we have gone above what we might have expected getting 372, which is probably worth more on that wicket.
“The partnership between Tres and Alviro was key for us because they have got an experienced attack and their bowlers were fresh. They came hard at Tres and Alviro and they both played superbly and that was the foundation for our innings.
“For Tres after a frustrating start everybody in the camp is incredibly pleased to see him get his hundred today.
“One of our strengths this year is that we bat deep, and although Lewis wouldn’t normally bat 11, part of our philosophy is that lower order runs are very important. Lewis and ‘Mybs’ had a storming partnership and the way they went about it they both looked very accomplished batsmen.
Jason added: “It’s great to have Alfonso back in the ranks and he bowled superbly this evening and got the breakthrough for us. There is still something in this wicket so it’s about executing our skills really well tomorrow and seeing where we are.”
He also paid tribute to the backroom staff at Someret, including new batting coach Dave Houghton: “We were lucky to pick him up when left Derby and we have done massive amounts of work. John Pitt is also our mind coach – our sports performance coach – and these sorts of people are always vitally important, building individuals back up into the right frame of mind.”
BBC Somerset’s Stephen Lamb told the BBC website: “There was no doubting the sincerity of Marcus Trescothick’s team-mates as they applauded his first Championship hundred since September 2012, an innings which helped give his team the better of the second day at Hove.
“Trescothick shared a stand of 139 with Alviro Petersen, and after a wobble against the new ball the last two wickets added 105 with Lewis Gregory to the fore.
“After Somerset posted 372, Alfonso Thomas capped off the day nicely by dismissing the in-form Sussex captain Ed Joyce for just six with the new ball.
“Sussex may be the County Championship leaders, but Somerset have a marginal advantage at the halfway stage of this game.”