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Thomas stars as Somerset go top

Watch highlights of day three

Somerset's Alfonso Thomas stunned Sussex with an incredible four wickets in four balls to help his side claim an emphatic six-wicket victory in LV= County Championship Division One.

Thomas, who ended with a five-wicket haul, sealed his hat-trick by dismissing James Anyon, Rory Hamilton-Brown and Ed Joyce in the last three balls of the 17th over before returning to the attack in the 19th and instantly bowling Matt Machan.

Somerset's Peter Trego also sent Chris Nash back to the pavilion in between as Sussex crashed from 33 for nought to 33 for five in 10 balls at Taunton.

Thomas attempted to become the first player to take five wickets in five balls in first-class history but, much to the disappointment of the home crowd, Sussex number seven Ben Brown was able to block the delivery.

It is the first time a Somerset player has taken four first-class wickets in a row while Surrey's Gary Butcher was the last man to achieve the feat in English cricket against Derbyshire in 2000.

Sussex never recovered thereafter, posting a meagre target of 104 which Somerset comfortably knocked off with six wickets to spare, taking them top of the table for the time being.

The visitors started the day 26 without loss and Nash and Anyon made solid starts as they looked to build a lead over their opponents.

Alfonso Thomas  celebrates after completing his hat-trick with the wicket of Ed Joyce. He made it four from four with his next delivery

It was not long though before Thomas' heroics began as the South African paceman bowled Anyon, who edged on to his own stumps for 18, and the very next ball Hamilton-Brown was lbw for a duck.

Thomas completed his treble with the all-important wicket of Joyce, who was unable to match his first-innings century, nicking the ball into the hands of Craig Kieswetter.

Somerset were buoyant and Nash felt the full force of the hosts' enthusiasm in the next over as Trego struck his inner thigh with a fizzing delivery before luring the opener into an edge that found the hands of James Hildreth in the slips.

Thomas then returned to the attack, looking to make it four in four, and he did just that as Machan's off stump flew into the air, leaving Sussex's hopes of victory in tatters.

Luke Wright and Ben Brown temporarily stemmed the tide - both making 35 - but when Brown was caught by Alviro Petersen and Marcus Trescothick held on to dismiss Wright, Sussex looked unlikely to set a three-figure target.

Trego claimed his third wicket in the next over, as Luke Wells was caught by Kieswetter before a late stand of 56 between Steffan Piolet and Will Beer frustrated the home side.

George Dockrell finished Sussex off, however, as he dismissed both Piolet and Beer to leave Sussex defending a slender lead.

Somerset seemed determined to wrap up the win before the end of play, putting on a rapid 41, but Johann Myburgh fell for 27 in the fifth over to Steve Magoffin and Trescothick was out for 14 soon after to Anyon.

Nick Compton came in and took charge, however, with an unbeaten 38 and, while Petersen and Hildreth were both out before the end, Kieswetter was able to hit the winning runs and seal a memorable victory.

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