Dockrell impresses again in New Road draw
George Dockrell became the leading spin bowler in the LV= County Championship as Somerset's game against Worcestershire fizzled out into a draw at a gloomy New Road.
The Ireland prospect's second-innings return of 3-56 took him to 29 Division One wickets - two more then Derbyshire's David Wainwright in Division Two - but a 70-minute hold-up for bad light effectively killed off Somerset's hopes of pushing for a surprise victory.
The stoppage gave Worcestershire time to regroup. Moeen Ali, unbeaten with 47, and Matt Pardoe settled their nerves in a partnership of 63, but there was still time for further mishaps when Craig Kieswetter returned 2-3 in his first bowling spell in county cricket.
The wicketkeeper ditched his pads and celebrated a wicket when his fifth ball squeezed through to bowl Pardoe. In Kieswetter’s second over Ben Scott was run out and in his third Gareth Andrew was given out leg before.
No real harm was done as Worcestershire opened up a lead of 171 prior to a match-closing declaration on 129 for seven, but it could have been different if Craig Overton had taken a chance off Dockrell at midwicket when Moeen was on 27.
The final day began with Somerset dismissed for 298 after losing their last three wickets for the addition of 21. Left-arm seamer Jack Shantry finished with 5-58 - the second five-wicket return of his career.
At that stage, an afternoon of batting practice appeared the most likely outcome for Worcestershire but the introduction of Dockrell opened up an alternative scenario.
Having hoisted the spinner's first ball for six over midwicket, Phil Hughes looked for something similar from the next delivery but succeeded only in scooping the ball high into the air for a simple catch by Kieswetter.
A big inswinger from Peter Trego rattled Vikram Solanki's leg stump and Worcestershire were under pressure when Dockrell claimed two wickets in five balls.
Daryl Mitchell turned a catch to short-leg and James Cameron was all at sea before edging to James Hildreth at slip.
With only one championship appearance before this season, Dockrell has emerged as a match-winner, taking six wickets in the second innings in each of his side's victories, against Middlesex and Durham, at Taunton.
The 19-year-old left-arm spinner from Dublin, who has played in 28 one-day internationals, again proved he is capable of exploiting any last-day deterioration in pitches.
Worcestershire, with five left-handers, were particularly vulnerable when he turned the ball out of the rough outside off stump.