Somerset will take a lot of satisfaction from this match, particularly from their batting. After the collapses of 2013, the home side seemed much more determined to occupy the crease and make the bowlers earn their wickets.
Admittedly this was a featherbed pitch and rumours are that it was prepared to negate Yorkshire’s attack. However the visitors’ bowlers stuck to their task, gave little away and Plunkett, particularly, was a handful. We showed real backbone with everyone bar Thomas getting into double figures and six batsmen made half centuries.
The worry remains around our bowling with both Thomas and Craig Overton picking up injuries during the course of this match. We are asking a lot of our young bowlers this year, most of whom are in their early 20s. While the radar may have been off at times, they stuck at their task well though, notably on the morning of day two, when after conceding 342-5 on day one, they took the last five wickets for just 48 runs.
It was encouraging to see Jamie Overton, who missed this match with tendonitis, fielding as 12th man and playing for the second XI today. We all hope he’s back in contention for the next game against Durham along with his brother Craig and veteran Thomas – and hopefully Peter Trego as well.
Quite who we drop after that batting display to fit in another bowler though is a problem that’s nice to have.
Somerset will also want to work on their fielding ahead of the game at Chester-le-Street against last year’s champions. While there were moments of brilliance – Jones was especially athletic in the field and Kieswetter’s one-handed diving catch today was very special – there were also at least three missed chances too.
UPDATE: Afterwards, Marcus told the Somerset club website: “Of course we would have loved to have been in a position where we could try to force a victory but we put ourselves into a good position with our lead and the opportunity was available. It was a pretty good pitch throughout the week so I’ll take the draw that we got from today.
“We have worked hard and we have done some good things and I’m happy with the outcome.
“It was outstanding to get 553 and to get 103 runs ahead was a great achievement and I can’t remember the last time we got that far ahead. However we have got a good batting line up at the moment with a lot of depth and everybody contributed.
“We talked about how first innings runs were going to be vital and probably would dictate how the game would go. If we batted well then maybe we could put ourselves into a position where we could try to win it, but if you don’t then you put yourself on the back foot and you are always playing catch up after that.”
OUR RATING (with marks out of 10)
Trescothick 5.5 – Started confidently, advancing to 20 with four boundaries before falling to an excellent inswinging yorker. He’ll be disappointed at missing out on this wicket. Good captaincy, particularly today, shepherding a makeshift attack well.
Jones – 7 – Excellent championship best score of 75 showed real stickability as Trescothick’s new opening partner. Played some attractive shots too. Very good in the field.
Compton – 6 – started slowly, but was picking up the pace and looking well set on 32 when Plunkett yorked him with an extremely fast delivery which would have got most batsmen out.
Petersen – 6 – Alviro will have been disappointed not to make more runs here, but, like Compo, he occupied the crease and looked very solid. And bowled a lot of overs in Yorkshire’s second innings, getting some turn to dismiss opposition captain Gale.
Myburgh – 8 – Johann was an unknown quantity in the West Country before this match, but he did much to endear himself to the Taunton faithful. He made a championship best score of 91 and bowled almost 50 overs in the match, picking up 3 wickets. An excellent signing, it seems.
Hildreth – 7 – A fine innings of 67, occupying the crease for more than 100 balls and keeping the scoreboard ticking over nicely. A forced shot led to his downfall, but a good start to Hildy’s season. Rare wicket when pressed into service as a bowler too!
Kieswetter – 7 – Excellent knock by the Somerset keeper with some of the big hitting we’ve come to expect from him, but real application too. He will have been disappointed to have got out to a slightly rash stroke, but played very well for his 67. A couple of blemishes with the gloves, but overall very solid, with a couple of very good catches indeed.
Gregory – 7.5 – Superb innings by the young all-rounder. Some big hits, but looked perfectly comfortable and played proper cricket strokes. Radar off a little at times with the ball throughout this match (overpitching a little), but generated real swing at times.
Meschede – 6.5 – Played a good, belligerent innings with the bat, smashing his way to Somerset’s sixth 50 of the innings. Three top-order wickets in the first innings. Was less effective in the second, not quite finding his mark, but kept things very tight after lunch.
Thomas – 5 – Economical in Yorkshire’s first innings, picking up just the one wicket. Out for 1 in Somerset’s innings, the only batsman not to reach double figures. Back spasms ruled him out of bowling second time round and we’ll be hoping he’s recovered in time for the trip to Durham to bring his reliability and experience to bear.
C Overton – 5.5 – Craig wasn’t at his best in Yorkshire’s first innings, but stuck to his task and took his wicket tally to three on the second morning, before going off the field injured. Reports are that it’s a problem with his ribs, so hopefully nothing as serious as last year and he’ll be fit again soon. Despite looking stiff when he batted, he braved some chin music from Plunkett and kept Meschede company in a 57-run partnership for the 10th wicket.