Game: Somerset v Yorkshire, Specsavers County Championship
Date: June 9-12, 2017
Venue: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Stage of the season: Sixth of 14 Championship games
Somerset: ME Trescothick, D Elgar, TB Abell c, JC Hildreth, SM Davies w, L Gregory, AJ Hose, C Overton, J Overton, MJ Leach, DM Bess
Yorkshire: A Lyth, AZ Lees, PSP Handscomb, GS Ballance c, JA Leaning, MJ Waite, AJ Hodd w, A Rafiq, SA Patterson, K Carver, RJ Sidebottom
Toss: Yorkshire won it and opted to bat first
It is often accepted that Championship games with all scores in the 200s generally provide the best entertainment. And this clash was the perfect example of that point. Thankfully, it was Yorkshire who came out on top. Gone are the days of Taunton being a batsman’s dream, and both sides played two frontline spinners – Somerset with Jack Leach and Dom Bess and Yorkshire Azeem Rafiq and Karl Carver. In the end, it was the useful part-time off-spin of Adam Lyth which proved the match winner. Andrew Hodd’s 59 was the only half-century in either first innings; Yorkshire making 202 and Somerset replying with 224, taking a slender lead midway through day two. The visitors then made a strong start to their second innings, reaching 180-3 with captain Gary Ballance and overseas Australian Peter Handscomb (70) sharing 67 for the third wicket. Ballance went on to make a superb unbeaten 98, though the White Rose lost their last seven wickets for 103 to undermine their chances of a victory which would take them to the top of the Division One table, albeit only briefly. Shortly before tea on day three, Somerset – slow starters in this season – were set 262 and reached close on 101-4. The game was very much in the balance. Half centuries from debutant Adam Hose and experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Steve Davies put the hosts in a strong position at 167-4 with their stand of 118. But Yorkshire roared back either side of lunch. Carver removed Hose and Lyth got Davies before Ryan Sidebottom found some reverse swing at a crucial juncture and claimed three wickets as the hosts fell from 231-6 to 250-9. Ballance had opted against taking the new ball and utilised Lyth at one end and Sidebottom at the other. In the end, with four needed, Jamie Overton clipped the former to mid-wicket to give the Tykes their third win of the season.