Compton shines but Somerset stumble
Nick Compton continued his productive start to the season by keeping Somerset afloat in a hard-fought clash with Warwickshire, last year’s LV= County Championship runners-up, at Edgbaston.
Having made 236 versus Cardiff MCCU and 99 against former club Middlesex, Compton followed up with another half-century as the visitors edged into a lead of 31 by reaching 127 for four in their second innings.
After the early loss of Marcus Trescothick, Compton and opener Arul Suppiah grafted diligently through 21 overs, putting on 86 before Warwickshire hit back with three wickets in the last hour.
The first was the result of a horrendous muddle which led to Suppiah being run out for 33 by Neil Carter, who swooped from mid-off to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
While Compton held firm for a defiant unbeaten 61 - adding to two fifities and a century on two previous championship visits to Edgbaston - Carter and off-spinner Jeetan Patel bowled James Hildreth and Craig Kieswetter.
This was yet another swing of the pendulum on an absorbing second day.
In the morning, Somerset seemed likely to keep their first-innings deficit to around 50, but a last-wicket stand of 47 by Keith Barker and Chris Wright gave Warwickshire a handy lead of 96.
Somerset clawed back 18 runs before Barker claimed a big wicket, setting up Trescothick with his outswinger and securing an lbw decision when a straight, full-length delivery dipped into the left-hander’s pads.
The pitch appeared to be playing a little easier than when Somerset folded for 147 in their first attempt, but batting was by no means a formality.
When Warwickshire resumed in the morning at 111 for three, Steve Kirby quickly broke the first half-century partnership of the match when Varun Chopra, after batting for nearly three hours for his 43, propped half-forward and edged to first slip.
Darren Maddy followed soon after, leg-before to Vernon Philander for 42, and Tim Ambrose became the first player to be caught in front of the wicket, finding short extra-cover to give Adam Dibble championship-best figures of 3-42.
Rikki Clarke hinted at something substantial, but on reaching 27 the all-rounder was beaten by the bounce. Attempting to pull Peter Trego, he under-edged the ball on to his middle stump.
Trego and George Dockrell reduced Warwickshire to 196 for nine but the change in the regulations on taking lunch, allowing play to go on for 30 minutes with nine wickets down, made no difference to the last pair.
They batted comfortably for more than an hour and Barker reached 46 before Kirby flattened his middle stump. His trust in Wright was such that the number 11 had more than half of the strike in an unbeaten 18.