Somerset edge into top spot

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Marcus Trescothick

Skipper Marcus Trescothick drives en route to a fluent 75 as Somerset edge closer to claiming their first championship title

Somerset moved two points clear of Nottinghamshire at the top of the LV= County Championship as they closed the second day against Durham on 226 for four, trailing by 60

Having pocketed maximum bowling points after bowling Durham out for 286 at the Emirates Durham ICG, Somerset’s anxiety to pick up the full five for batting saw them surrender three wickets following a brief break for rain.

But James Hildreth and Peter Trego shared an unbroken stand of 46 and, with it, the first batting point when they brought up the 200 in the 42nd over.

Marcus Trescothick, hoping to lead Somerset to the first title in their history, progressed serenely to 75 before he was second out with the total on 132.

His exit came shortly after the rain break, when a flat-footed drive from Ben Harmison which swung away slightly resulted in an edge to Phil Mustard.

Nick Compton played several classy strokes in reaching 46 before he was adjudged lbw to a Harmison inswinger, which may have gone on to miss leg stump.

Then Craig Kieswetter, having already sliced a wild drive over gully, swung across the line and was bowled by Chris Rushworth.

Despite his two wickets, Harmison conceded 58 runs in eight overs and Durham needed new signing Ruel Brathwaite to bring some control.

The 25-year-old West Indian paceman bowled 11 accurate overs and was unlucky not to remove Compton, twice beating him and going close to bowling him when shouldering arms.

He bowled at a lively pace but did not trouble Trescothick, whose only blemish was on 22 when he edged Rushworth low to the right of first slip.

The left-hander drove Liam Plunkett through extra-cover for his seventh four to complete a 65-ball half-century.

In the morning, Dale Benkenstein added only one to his overnight 71 before edging Alfonso Thomas to Trescothick, who took a good low catch in the day’s second over.

Gordon Muchall departed for 37 when he pushed forward and edged Ben Phillips to Kieswetter, and Trego took the next two wickets.

A good lbw appeal was turned down with Ian Blackwell on 19, but the next, which looked less convincing, was upheld.

Harmison played well for 35 before skying an attempted pull to square-leg and Somerset took the last three wickets with the new ball.

Scott Borthwick and Plunkett edged to the slips before Mustard got an inside edge on to his leg stump off Charl Willoughby.

That was the wicket which gave Somerset their third point and took them clear at the top. Phillips wrapped up the innings by pinning Brathwaite lbw to finish with 4-60.

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