Panesar spins Sussex towards victory
Monty Panesar got the better of Somerset’s batsmen for the second time as Sussex put themselves in a commanding position on the third day of the LV= County Championship match at Taunton.
The England left-arm spinner followed up his 7-60 in the first innings with 6-77 in the second as the hosts were bowled out for 195 to set their opponents a modest 164 for victory.
Sussex had earlier been dismissed for 279, their last three wickets adding 101 as Ben Brown hit 52 and Amjad Khan 57 not out. Abdur Rehman returned 5-70.
By stumps, Sussex had reached 31 without loss in their second innings, skipper Ed Joyce and Chris Nash negotiating a testing 45 minutes before the close to leave 133 required for victory.
The biggest threat to the visitors could be a bad weather forecast for tomorrow, with rain expected from around 10am.
Panesar’s match figures of 13-137 were a career-best. He turned the ball with even his quicker deliveries from the River End and was well supported by off-spinner Nash, who claimed 3-45 in Somerset’s second innings.
The day began with Sussex 161 for six. Brown reached an excellent half-century off 88 balls, but it was Amjad’s aggression in hitting eight fours and a six that made the biggest difference as his side chased a first-innings lead.
Their ninth wicket went down with the scores level on 247, but Panesar dominated a stand of 32 in a crucial contribution from the final pair.
Even so, the lead was made to look relatively meaningless when Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah put together an opening partnership of 84 for Somerset.
It ended when Trescothick advanced down the pitch to Panesar and edged an arm-ball to slip, having made 38.
Suppiah went on to make a half-century off 69 balls, with nine fours, but carelessly directed a back-foot shot off James Anyon straight to Michael Yardy at short cover on 59.
Somerset then went into freefall as their middle order found no answer to Panesar and Chris Nash. Chris Jones, Jos Buttler, Alex Barrow and James Hildreth got starts without being able to contribute significantly.
Panesar got the ball to bounce as well as turn in a performance which will surely not go unnoticed by the England hierarchy when it comes to selecting winter touring parties.
Rehman bowled tidily for Somerset, but the Pakistan left-arm spinner was unable to match the exploits of his England counterpart.