Compton ton sets Warks testing target
Nick Compton struck a century and shared a partnership of 167 with Jos Buttler to bring Somerset back into contention in an uncompromising struggle with Warwickshire in the LV= County Championship at Edgbaston.
In 43 overs together, they stretched a slender lead of 35 beyond 200 and, after Adam Dibble added a career-best 43, Marcus Trescothick’s side posted a total of 354 to set the hosts a testing 259 for victory.
Neil Carter’s promotion to opener paid off with a quick-fire 26 and, despite losing wickets in successive overs from the Pavilion End, Will Porterfield’s unbeaten 57 took them to 123 for two at the close.
The left-hander shared an unbroken stand of 80 with Ian Westwood, 17 not out, to leave Warwickshire requiring another 136 to win on the final day.
The match might have been over by now, but an opportunity for Warwickshire to win in three days slipped through their captain’s fingers when Jim Troughton spilled what looked to be a routine chance from Buttler at mid-off.
The England batsman had made only seven at the time and the cost of his let-off mounted with every run from the talented strokemaker.
While Buttler was always pleasing on the eye in making 93 from 126 balls, Compton was more conservative, but no less important to his team in compiling his 13th first-class hundred.
It was not quite as long as the six-hour century he made on this ground for Middlesex six years ago but in reaching 133 he was at the crease for 85 overs, diligently facing 256 deliveries before Chris Wright was able to breach his defence.
The day began well enough for Warwickshire when nightwatchman George Dockrell fended to gully in Wright’s second over but they had to wait nearly three hours for another wicket - and then three came along in 12 balls.
Buttler, having hit a six off Carter, had not long driven his 15th four when he was trapped in front by a full-length Wright delivery and in the following over Carter bowled Peter Trego.
When Wright claimed his seventh wicket of the match by knocking out Compton’s off stump, Somerset kicked on again with Dibble, a seam bowler in only his third championship match, revealing potential as an all-rounder.
Picking his shots with power and certainty, the 21-year-old collected half a dozen fours and a six from 46 balls before Rikki Clarke finished the innings in three deliveries.
Vernon Philander fell at mid-off, Troughton holding a more difficult catch than the one he dropped from Buttler, and Dibble gave up his chance of a maiden half-century when he was bowled swinging across the line.
Carter took to his opening role with ease, hitting five early fours, but soon departed when he found the hands of Buttler off Dockrell. And when Varun Chopra edged Kirby behind to Craig Kieswetter in the next over, Somerset were on top.
But Porterfield looked comfortable at the crease, finding the boundary nine times, alongside the defiant Westwood as the pair frustrated the Somerset bowlers.