Dom Bess and Matthew Waite struck twice apiece as Yorkshire battled hard for reward during a weather-interrupted opening day against Somerset at Taunton, the hosts led by Tom Abell’s unbeaten 114.
What was billed as the hottest day of the year – the umpires and representatives from both teams discussed shortening the day because of extreme heat – turned into one which lost 20 overs because of heavy afternoon rain.
Somerset elected to bat first in this ninth round LV= Insurance County Championship fixture and reached close at 262-5 from 76 overs.
The general consensus is they are just ahead at this point following a bowling performance which could have been better.
Abell was their linchpin. He arrived at the crease in the day’s seventh over when Jordan Thompson had Tom Lammonby caught at first slip, leaving them 25-1, and batted through to close, hitting 14 fours and two sixes in 217 balls.
Thompson’s fellow all-rounder Waite finished with 2-35 from 16 overs, while miserly Bess also impressed against his former county with 2-29 from 18.
Waite and Bess were the only two to go at under three an over, while Yorkshire’s bowlers could have been fuller in length.
Yorkshire were without captain Steve Patterson due to a hamstring injury, his duties taken on by Adam Lyth.
Abell found an ally in George Bartlett, the third-wicket pair sharing 131 from late morning through to early evening, with the former making a determined 46 – his highest score of the season in only his third innings.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore is playing his first Championship game of the season, ironically against the county he will join on a three-year deal this winter.
He claimed three catches at first slip, including a one-handed stunner to help Bess get rid of Lewis Goldsworthy after tea as the off-spinner returned to Taunton for the first time since leaving at the end of 2020.
Kohler-Cadmore also caught a driving Lammonby diving away to his left to help Thompson make the first breakthrough, though dropped Bartlett on 26 off Shannon Gabriel early in the afternoon session.
Waite claimed the second wicket when Australian opener Matthew Renshaw was trapped lbw for 43 with one that came back in at the Middlesbrough-born left-hander, leaving the score at 66-2 in the 21st.
Somerset reached lunch at 99-2 from 28 before heavy rain through the break forced a two-and-a-half-hour break.
This was after umpires Tom Lungley and Hassan Adnan, match referee Steve Davies, both coaches, captains, physios and local paramedics had met just before the toss to discuss the possibility of cutting the playing hours because of expected extreme heat.
When play resumed at 3.30pm, it did so for an hour through until tea, which Abell and Bartlett navigated.
England Lion Abell, who had earlier been stuck on 11 for 29 balls, reached his fifty off 101 balls, by which time the hosts were 158-2 in the 38th over.
In trying to follow Abell to the same milestone after tea, Bartlett fell to a top-edged pull against Waite, caught at long-leg by Matthew Revis – 197-3 in the 50th.
The majority of Somerset’s boundaries were scored square of and behind the wicket and none down the ground.
Kohler-Cadmore then helped Bess strike in grand style. Goldsworthy went hard at a drive, only to flash an edge. Kohler-Cadmore flung himself to his left and hung on one-handed. At this stage, Somerset were 210-4 in the 61st.
Yorkshire tied Abell up again on 80, where he was spent 22 balls, before sweeping Jack Shutt’s off-spin for six in his first over (220-4 in the 66th).
He then repeated the dose towards a short leg-side boundary towards the pavilion side of this venue on the way to a 198-ball century, his third of the Championship season.
Abell has now reached three figures as many times as the rest of his team-mates combined this season.
However, he lost another partner – James Rew – to the Bess/Kohler-Cadmore combination before close, Somerset falling to 246-5 in the 73rd.
Abell will begin day two with Lewis Gregory for company on five.