Match Zone: Middlesex (A) in Specsavers CC (22-25 May)

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Somerset head to the home of Cricket to take on Middlesex for their 6th game in this seasons County Championship with mixed emotions. Five consecutive draws can be deemed positive or negative – depending on how sunny or not your disposition in life is – but the fact is the cider county completely outplayed reigning champions Yorkshire in their most recent game in this format, just as they did against Warwickshire in game 4, who overtook the Tykes to take top spot in the table after the most recent round of matches. The players will take great heart from these performances even if it was frustrating not to cross the finishing rope and get the deserved wins.

But seven of the players named in the Somerset squad played in the crushing defeat in the first t20 match of the season when their bowling was simply torn apart by the Kent youngsters at Canterbury. The experience will certainly sit heavy even if this is a different format and discipline.

Somerset squad: C Rogers (c), M Trescothick, T Abell, J Hildreth, J Myburgh, J Allenby, P Trego, R Davies (w), T Groenewald, L Gregory, J Overton, C Overton, J Leach.

It is likely that Craig Overton will be recalled after sitting out the Yorkshire and Kent games as part of Matt Maynard’s rotation policy but who will make way? Brother Jamie bowled arguably his best spells against the champions, with some ferocious stuff at times, and Lewis Gregory is also in form. Tim Groenewald sat out the game at Edgbaston so it is ‘not his turn’!

Middlesex have also drawn all five games played – the only other side in the division not to win or lose yet – and the teams look evenly matched going into the Lords encounter. Middlesex sit in 6th place on 53 points with Somerset in 7th, just two points below them. There will be no old school reunion for Nick Compton as he is on England duty (even if the game v Sri Lanka was won in three days) but Chris Rogers plays against the club that released him after last season in favour of their current skipper Adam Voges, his fellow Australian. Buck will not need much motivating to score big against Middlesex at this ground.

Middlesex squad: A Voges (c), J Franklin, J Fuller, N Gubbins, J Harris, D Malan, T Murtagh, R Patel, O Rayner, S Robson, T Roland-Jones, J Simpson, P Stirling.

Table 21st May

The game’s scorecard on ESPN Cricinfo here

Live coverage from BBC Somerset here

Umpires: Michael Gough & Neil Bainton

Day 1

Morning: Somerset won the toss and elected to bat and recalled Craig Overton at the expense of his brother Jamie. Otherwise Matt kept faith with those that did so well against Yorkshire.

  • Tres, starting his 350th first class match, looked confident and hit the first 8 runs of the innings with 2 boundaries, but with the score on 9 he was trapped lbw by Roland Jones after 5.5 overs.
  • Rogers joined Tom Abell and the pair dug in against the home side’s well drilled pace attack. Buck brought up the 50 with a boundary off James Harris after 21.2 overs.  The 50 partnership was achieved after 24.3 overs when Buck pushed Raynor for 2 runs.
  • The partnership was worth 79 at lunch with Buck 40* & Tabes 38*. Somerset had progressed to 88-1.

Afternoon: Just 6 more runs had been added in 3.4 overs when the 2nd wicket of the day fell. Abell was caught behind by Simpson b Roland-Jones 41. His innings lasted 140 minutes and he scored 6×4. Somerset 94-2.

  • Hildreth joined his skipper and the two provided a solid base. Rogers got to 50 in the 40th over.
  • At tea Somerset were 169-2 with Buck 82* & Hildy 36*.

Evening: The two brought up the 100 partnership in the 71st over when Hildreth got a single off Harris.

  • Hildy also passed 50 after 71.1 overs when he hit Frankland for four. Somerset were 198-2 at this stage.
  • Rogers then hit Harris for two on 72.3 to bring up the 200 and a batting point for the away team.
  • After 75 overs Somerset were 206-2 with only one batting point in the bag. With a scoring rate of 3.7 and 35 overs to get more batting points Somerset looked unlikely to get 4-5 batting points from this innings but it was steady if unspectacular stuff.
  • Rogers finally got to his first Somerset ton with the last ball of the 79th over when he drove a single off Raynor. He hit 8×4 to reach the traget.
  • At the end of the 80th the players left the field due to bad light then the rain came forcing an end to the day’s play with Somerset 219-2 with Rogers 104* & Hildreth 60*.

Day 2

To follow.