Dazzling Dockrell sets up Somerset success
George Dockrell claimed 6-27 from 20.1 overs to help Somerset to a six-wicket victory over Middlesex in the LV= County Championship Division One match at Taunton.
Thanks largely to the efforts of the 19-year-old Ireland left-arm spinner, the visitors collapsed from 135 for three to 175 all out in their second innings, leaving Somerset just 72 to win.
Despite the loss of Marcus Trescothick for a third-ball duck and three other wickets, the hosts reached their target in 16 overs and took 22 points from the game, while Middlesex claimed only three.
It was a significant win for Somerset, who had lost their opening two championship fixtures in the previous two seasons before launching late and ultimately unsuccessful bids for a first ever title.
Middlesex began the day on 38 for one and initially looked capable of salvaging a draw as Sam Robson and Chris Rogers rode their luck against some menacing seam bowling from Vernon Philander and Steve Kirby.
The pair had taken their side to 105 for one and into the lead when Robson was lbw for 43 attempting to sweep Dockrell, who then accounted for Rogers, on 50, caught behind trying to cut a ball that was not short enough for the shot.
It was 134 for three at lunch and Somerset still had much work to do.
But Philander had Neil Dexter caught behind in the first over after the interval and later accounted for Dawid Malan, giving him a return of 2-38 and match figures of 7-81.
Dockrell removed the middle order by having John Simpson taken at slip, Gareth Berg lbw pushing forward and Ollie Rayner stumped at the second attempt by Craig Kieswetter, while Kirby deservedly picked up the wicket of Tim Murtagh.
When Toby Roland-Jones lifted Dockrell to deep midwicket to end the Middlesex innings the result looked beyond doubt.
But Gareth Berg quickly removed Trescothick and Arul Suppiah to leave Somerset 13 for two in the seventh over.
That became 44 for four when Nick Compton fell to Joe Denly’s gentle spin and Craig Kieswetter played on to Berg for a duck.
James Hildreth survived a tough chance to Malan at long-on off Rayner, having made only four, and went on to steer Somerset home with an unbeaten 37, compiled from just 23 balls.
Jos Buttler ended the game with a flourish, hitting the winning boundary with a reverse-sweep.