Yorkshire 438 off 114.2 overs (JA Leaning 123, TT Bresnan 100*, JM Bairstow 50, SA Patterson 42, AZ Lees 34; PD Trego 4-73, C Overton 3-74) and 171-5 off 68 overs (JA Leaning 52, WMH Rhodes 40, JM Bairstow 33*; C Overton 3-36); lead Somerset 485 off 102.4 overs (TLW Cooper 99, JC Hildreth 82, TB Abell 62, ME Trescothick 56, J Overton 50, JG Myburgh 41, J Allenby 31, C Overton 31*) by 124 runs with five wickets remaining. Somerset 7 points, Yorkshire 8 points.
Neither Craig nor Jamie Overton have been short of admirers since they first entered the cricket watching consciousness in their teens.
Both twins have made crucial contributions for Somerset since then, earning call-ups to various England development programmes. But injuries have restricted the occasions they have appeared in the same side, leaving fans to only imagine what a team containing a pair of fit and in-form brothers could do for Somerset’s fortunes.
Today a half-term holiday crowd at Taunton got a mouth-watering glimpse of that future as they watched the brothers dominate the third day of this LV=Championship match against Yorkshire.
Those hoping to see the brothers bowling in tandem got their wish as the pair bowled an excellent spell after tea with Craig taking three key wickets, while Jamie bowled a tight, hostile spell to keep the pressure on at the other end.
But perhaps more crucially, the brothers played a big role with the bat, sharing in a tenth-wicket stand of 76 to give Somerset a slender 47-run lead and put Yorkshire on the back foot as they began their second innings.
They came together after Tom Cooper had been cruelly denied a first Championship century by just one run, and before Somerset had achieved parity with Yorkshire’s first innings 438. But in just under half an hour before lunch, the pair completely transformed the state of the game, striking 76 runs from only 5.5 overs.
The hitting was remarkable. Craig took four consecutive boundaries off one over from Steven Patterson to take Somerset into the lead before Jamie hit 4 fours of his own off the next over from Adil Rashid, during which the 50 partnership came up off 25 balls.
Jamie broke his bat before the start of the next over from the Yorkshire spinner, but after collecting another, he proceeded to hit two enormous sixes, one over mid-wicket and the other over the Trescothick Stand and into the River Tone to bring up his 50 off 18 balls with 7 fours and 3 sixes. He finally fell, next ball, to a catch by Tim Bresnan at slip.
Craig meanwhile, finished with a barely more sedate 31* off 25 balls. In 29 minutes together, the brothers had advanced the score from 409-9 to 485 all out.
Somerset struck early when Yorkshire batted for a second time, Pete Trego having Adam Lees caught behind for just 1 in the second over, before a dull passage of play in which Somerset bowled tightly to dry up the Yorkshire scoring rate. Will Rhodes and first-innings centurion Jack Leaning added 82 in 28 overs, the scoring rate dropping to as low as 1.5 an over for a long period of their partnership. The part-time spin of Johann Myburgh eventually made the breakthrough removing Rhodes (40), who was well caught by Jim Allenby diving to his left in the 30th over soon before tea.
After the interval, skipper Marcus Trescothick brought Craig Overton back into the attack with immediate success. Three balls after Leaning had hit him to the fine-leg boundary to bring up his half-century, Overton had the batsman caught by James Hildreth at deep backward square leg.
With the first ball of his next over, Overton struck again having Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale caught by his Somerset counterpart Trescothick for 12 and Yorkshire were 109-4, just 62 runs ahead.
Trescothick brought Jamie on from the other end to bowl in tandem with his brother and put the pressure on the new batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Glenn Maxwell, a tactic that paid dividends a few overs later when Craig claimed the Australian’s wicket for the second time in the match, bowling him for 2 to leave Yorkshire at 117-5 and in real danger.
But Bairstow (33*) and Rashid (23*) dug in and by close of play had crafted a partnership worth 54 runs in 23 overs to keep Yorkshire in the game with a narrow lead of 124 with five wickets remaining. Craig Overton finished the day with 3-36 from his 12 overs, two of which have been maidens.
The momentum – and the day – firmly lay with Somerset, who will fancy taking some quick wickets in the morning with the new ball not far away and the old ball showing signs of reverse swing.
Somerset know from their first innings however, that they underestimate Bairstow and Bresnan at their peril and removing them before they can inflict the kind of damage they caused in the first innings will be key.
Earlier Somerset resumed on 309-4 with Cooper on 55*, his first Championship half-century for Somerset. Nightwatchman Alfonso Thomas did not last long this morning, failing to add to his overnight 4, before he was bowled by Liam Plunkett.
That brought Allenby out to join Cooper and together the pair put on 58 for the sixth wicket before Allenby was bowled by Patterson for a near run-a-ball knock of 31. Trego was dismissed in the same fashion by Patterson for 10 and the same bowler had Alex Barrow caught behind down the legside without scoring by his opposite number Bairstow.
Craig Overton kept Cooper company for a while and the Dutch international moved closer to his maiden Somerset century with two fours off Plunkett to move onto 98, but on 99 he got something on a short ball down the legside from the same bowler and was caught by Bairstow.
Cooper has struggled at times against the moving ball in English spring conditions and failed to convert any starts into a sizable contribution. This though, was a very fine knock in over three hours and 20 minutes at the crease. In all he faced 157 balls and hit 18 boundaries and is hopefully where his season starts in earnest.
After the close the delighted Overton twins talked about what they reckoned was their best day in the Somerset side together.
Jamie said: “Yes it was nice to have a bit of fun out there and to have Craig out there with me helped play, so it was nice to get some runs with him. It happened up at Edgbaston last season when batted together and I got a 50 in no time.”
Craig said: “I wasn’t surprised to see Jamie hitting it to all parts. After Coops got out on 99 I asked Jamie what he was going to play and he said he’s going to have a go from the start. I know what he can do when it’s like that and it showed today. He struck it cleanly and played sensible shots and got us into a good position.
“It’s great to be batting with him because when he gets going so do I get going and he got a lot of runs in a short space of time as well.
Jamie said: “It’s a pretty good pitch even though there have been 11 wickets today so a decent lead was crucial and we have managed to get ourselves into a good position with the ball this evening.
Talking about his bowling Jamie said: “I gave Craig good support in the final session and I am getting back to where I was even though I get a bit sore occasionally. It is going in the right direction and building pressure gets wickets. He managed to get the wickets and I didn’t but that’s the way it is and as long as we get wickets that’s what is crucial to the team.
Regarding his three wickets Craig said: “It came out nicely and obviously it is quite hard to get wickets out there. We tried to get it to reverse swing and it did a little bit. It’s quite dry out there so I got it to reverse and its crucial to get the ball to move out there and it got me three out there.
Looking ahead Jamie said: “It’s only a few overs to the new ball and when we get there it’s crucial that we take wickets with it and if we can get them out for less than a lead of 200 we would back ourselves to win.”