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Somerset boost survival battle

Craig Meschede claimed three wickets as Somerset took early control of the LV= County Championship relegation battle against Surrey at Taunton.

Having won the toss, the visitors could make only 195 for eight before bad light wiped out the last 15 overs of the day.

Gareth Batty top scored with 39, while Meschede returned 3-37 from 17 overs.

There were two wickets each for Alfonso Thomas and Piyush Chawla and it took a battling eighth-wicket stand of 64 between Batty and Stuart Meaker, who hit 30 not out, to put Surrey in sight of a desperately needed batting point.

Division One's bottom club gave a championship debut to 18-year-old Dominic Sibley, who contributed 10 to an opening stand of 31 with Rory Burns before falling lbw on the back foot to Meschede in the 15th over.

Two more wickets fell without addition to the score as Hashim Amla unluckily nicked a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter in Meschede's next over and Burns was also caught behind fending at a delivery from Thomas.

Surrey went into defensive mode and had scored only 61 by the final over before lunch, which saw Chawla pin Vikram Solanki lbw for 14 with a quicker ball to send Somerset's players off with a spring in their step.

It got better for the home side in the afternoon session when their former player Zander de Bruyn was lbw to Meschede pushing half-forward, having made 30, to make it 81 for five.

The scoring virtually dried up as Zafar Ansari took 42 balls to get off the mark. It was the application Surrey needed but Ansari only managed to reach eight before being caught behind off Peter Trego, Kieswetter diving alertly to his left as he had done to dismiss Burns.

At tea Surrey were 124 for six off 64 overs and their woes continued after the interval when, with six runs added, Steven Davies was held at short-leg off Chawla for 38.

Davies had looked more assured than most of his colleagues, but his departure brought the brightest spell of the day for Surrey as Batty and Meaker launched a counter attack.

With the second new ball approaching, both were prepared to take risks. Batty, roundly booed by Somerset supporters as he walked out following the T20 quarter-final altercation with Peter Trego that earned him a ban, produced the most attacking strokeplay, hitting a six off Chawla and five fours before being held at deep midwicket off Thomas.

Somerset took the new ball in the next over but with only a run added the umpires decided it had become too gloomy and the day reached a premature conclusion.

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