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  • Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Bess best keeps Somerset title dreams alive

    Dom Bess continued the spectacular start to his County Championship career as Somerset strengthened their title challenge on the second day of the match against Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

    Dom Bess continued the spectacular start to his County Championship career as Somerset strengthened their title challenge on the second day of the match against Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

    The 19-year-old off-spinner hit 41 to ensure a fourth batting point after his side began the day on 322 for nine, then claimed five for 43 from 22.5 overs to help shoot out the visitors for 138, Jack Leach taking three for 42.

    Bess now has combined figures of 13 for 102 in his first three Championship innings as a bowler, having claimed eight for 59 on his debut in the competition against Warwickshire earlier this month.

    With a first innings lead of 227, Somerset elected not to enforce the follow-on and closed on 105 for two, having lost openers Marcus Trescothick (39) and Tom Abell.

    The day began with the hosts needing 28 from their last wicket pair to reach 350 and secure the extra point which would put added pressure on Middlesex and Yorkshire.

    Bess and Leach did better than that, taking the score to 365 before Bess drove a catch to short cover off Samit Patel, having dominated a stand of 43. Jake Ball finished with six for 57.

    Having lost five wickets for no runs the previous evening, Somerset were grateful to regain momentum and soon had a breakthrough as Steven Mullaney, on five, was well caught be Abell at backward-point off Lewis Gregory.

    Notts were 35 for one at lunch, with Bess having sent down five maidens. Only three runs had been added when Tom Moores, on ten, lost patience against the young spinner and edged to slip.

    Jake Libby made 42 to help take the score to 91, but he was then caught bat and pad advancing down the pitch to Bess, who quickly followed up by taking a sharp return catch to his left to send back Michael Lumb for 29.

    It was 108 for five when Patel was stumped stretching forward defensively to Bess and the Notts slump continued when Chris Read was run out for four by Max Waller’s throw to the wicketkeeper from point after Billy Root had called for a quick single.

    Waller was fielding as substitute for James Hildreth after Somerset’s heroic first day centurion had been found to have a fractured ankle, sustained early in that innings.

    At tea, the visitors were 120 for six and they lost two more wickets in the first over after the interval, Leach having Root caught off bat and pad before Matt Carter drove his first ball to mid-off where Craig Overton took a low catch.

    Without a run added, Brett Hutton looked to loft Bess over mid-on and Overton took a well-judged catch with the ball dropping over his shoulder.

    A couple of lusty blows from Imran Tahir boosted the meagre Notts total before Ball fell lbw to Bess reverse sweeping. For the second successive home game the Somerset youngster left the field holding the ball up to the appreciative crowd.

    Despite losing Abell, lbw on the back foot to Hutton for ten, and Trescothick, who edged off-spinner Carter to slip, Somerset led by 332 at the close and remain right in the thick of the title chase.

    They will take 23 points if they win. To finish above them, Middlesex would then need to win against Yorkshire at Lord’s, while Yorkshire would need to make 350 in their first innings and secure victory to deprive the Cider county of a first ever Championship success.

    Dom Bess admitted: "The last couple of weeks have been like a dream for me.

    "To suddenly be involved in a team with a real chance of winning the County Championship has been fantastic. I really enjoy bowling in tandem with Jack Leach and he is always talking to me and offering advice.

    "Our director of cricket Matt Maynard made it clear our batting collapse at the end of day one was unacceptable, but we remained positive because we were still in a good position in the game."

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