Hildreth puts weakened Notts to sword

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James Hildreth

James Hildreth dominated the opening day against high-flying Nottinghamshire as Somerset racked up 423 for six

James Hildreth hit a season’s best 142 - his fourth LV= County Championship century of the campaign - to put Somerset in a strong position on the opening day against Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

Hildreth shared a fourth-wicket stand of 210 with Jos Buttler, which led the hosts to 423 for six after winning the toss. Darren Pattinson took four wickets in 14 overs.

Notts suffered a blow before the start when Ryan Sidebottom suffered a knee injury in the warm-up game of football and had to pull out.

But Pattinson bowled Marcus Trescothick leg stump with the first ball and at one point Somerset were struggling on 77 for three.

With the ball swinging and moving off the seam, the early batsmen had problems and it was 44 for two when Nick Compton, on 17, edged Pattinson to second slip where David Hussey took the catch.

Arul Suppiah battled his way to 30 before he edged a defensive shot and gave a catch to Alex Hales at first slip off Andre Adams.

Zander de Bruyn and Hildreth took the score to 126 for three at lunch, but the first ball after the interval saw de Bruyn play down the wrong line and fall lbw to Pattinson for 44.

From then on Hildreth and 19-year-old Buttler took control, batting with increasing assurance in the afternoon sunshine.

Hildreth made liberal use of the sweep against spinners Samit Patel and Hussey, reaching a chanceless hundred just before tea with a boundary to third-man off Charlie Shreck.

The 25-year-old former England Lions player had faced 128 balls and hit 13 fours in a typically attractive knock. He has now scored 846 championship runs this summer at an average of over 60.

Talented youngster Buttler lost nothing by comparison and was unbeaten on 71 when tea was taken at 280 for four.

The total had been extended to 336 when Buttler danced down the wicket to Patel and was bowled for 88. The youngster had played beautifully, but left with head bowed, aghast at his mistake with the new ball so close.

The fresh cherry accounted for Hildreth as he carelessly pulled the first delivery with it from Pattinson straight to Mark Wagh at deep square-leg.

That meant Pattinson had struck with his first ball of the day, his first after lunch and his first with the new ball.

But it was still Somerset’s day as Peter Trego and Craig Kieswetter guided them to maximum batting points, unbeaten on 36 and 43 respectively, Kieswetter confirming the return to form he suggested in the Friends Provident t20 quarter-final win over Northamptonshire on Tuesday.

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