Hildreth inspires improbable Somerset win
Somerset are favourites to finish runners-up to Warwickshire in the LV= County Championship after pulling off an impressive five-wicket victory over Sussex at the PROBIZ County Ground.
James Hildreth made 101 and Peter Trego an often explosive 89 in an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 168 from just 26 overs as Somerset, chasing 396, reached 397 for five 30 minutes before tea. It was the second-highest successful run-chase in the county's history.
They now lie third, one point ahead of Sussex and eight behind Middlesex, who are not in action on the final week of the season.
Somerset seemed to be up against it when they started the final day on 155 for four after losing four wickets in the last half hour of the third evening.
However, Hildreth, who made just one in the first innings, looked assured from the start and added 80 in 32 overs with Alex Barrow before lunch.
Sussex got their only breakthrough of the day when Barrow was undone by extra bounce with the new ball and edged Steve Magoffin to Matt Prior at slip for 40 en route to the Australian’s 4-73.
It was tough going for the Sussex attack. The pitch had lost the pace it had on the first couple of days and, although Ed Joyce rung the changes, Hildreth and Trego settled in.
Hildreth offered one chance on 61 when he inside-edged Chris Nash's off-spin, but Ben Brown failed to take a difficult chance behind the stumps.
Trego went on the attack from the start and reached his fifty by sweeping Panesar over the ropes.
After lunch Somerset sped to their target with impressive ease and the only question as the target got closer was whether Hildreth would go to his third hundred of the season as his partner cut loose. Three runs off Magoffin took him to the landmark and he finished with 15 fours.
At the other end Trego's ball-striking was impressive, with 72 of his runs coming in boundaries.
He hit Lewis Hatchett out of the attack with three successive fours and struck sixes off Panesar, twice, as well as Magoffin and Nash among the 72 balls he faced.