• Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Fifteen wickets fall on busy day at Taunton

    Jack Leach delivered a strong reminder of his undoubted talent as 12 wickets fell to spin on the first day between Somerset and Hampshire

    Jack Leach delivered a strong reminder of his undoubted talent as 12 wickets fell to spin on the first day of the Specsavers' County Championship game between Somerset and Hampshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.


    Having come into the game with only six first-class wickets to his name this summer, the 25-year-old left-arm spinner doubled his season's tally as Hampshire were bowled out for 162 inside 50 overs.

    By the close, Somerset, for whom Dean Elgar scored 60, trailed by five runs with as many first innings wickets in hand. A morning that began brightly for Hampshire finished with Somerset firmly on top. Having won the toss, the visitors, looked in precious little trouble in reaching 34 for 0 in the 14th over.

    However, by the time the two sides sat down for a lunch, Hampshire had already lost more than half of their first innings wickets. Openers Michael Carberry and Liam Dawson got the board moving inside the first hour before Dawson (13), carelessly pulled a short ball from Leach to Dom Bess at square leg. Carberry (17) followed at 34 for 2 and five overs later, Leach struck again. This time, it was James Vince who perished to the slow left armer, for 11.

    Rilee Rossouw (0) and Sean Ervine (8) departed shortly after, to Leach and Bess respectively and before lunch arrived, Lewis McManus had been caught by James Hildreth at short leg, off the bowling of Bess for a first ball duck. Although the wicket was producing considerable turn, it had been a less than impressive display of batting.

    Having reduced Hampshire to 100 for 6 at lunch, Somerset finally bowled out the visitors for 162 off 49.1 overs.

    Leach, who had Gareth Berg stumped by Steven Davies for 10 at 100 for 7, sent back George Bailey (49) with a delightful delivery that pitched on leg stump and struck off.

    Jamie Overton denied the spin twins all 10 first innings wickets when he picked up the scalp of Mason Crane (1) at 154 for 9. However, it was business as usual for Leach in the 50th over when he trapped Kyle Abbott (49) lbw.

    Somerset's Jack Leach said: "Maybe the day has finished slightly in our favour, but there is a lot of cricket left in the game and a lot of hard work for us too. It was certainly a wicket that helped the spinners and I thought Bessie (Dom Bess) bowled brilliantly and Dawson too. personally, I was pleased, it's always nice when you get a few wickets."

    "We are closing in on their total and I think the remaining batsmen should take heart from some of the innings they played last year when the tail wagged. It's important to get a good lead if we can."

    Somerset's reply was decent without being totally satisfactory. Still, by the close, they had moved to within five runs of Hampshire's modest total.


    Marcus Trescothick departed for six at 15 for 1 before captain Tom Abell and Elgar added 75 for the second wicket. However, when Abell departed, for 40, at 90 for 2, Hampshire clawed their way back into the game with three further wickets falling before the close.

    Elgar, who became the first batsman on the day to reach 50, off 74 balls with six fours and a six, made 60 but fell to Dawson, who finished the day with 3 for 44 off 15 overs.

    James Hildreth was adjudged lbw to Abbott for seven at 119 for 3 and after Elgar's dismissal at 121 for 4, Peter Trego was the fifth man out at 141 in the 37th over, for 10. Davies and Lewis Gregory saw Somerset through to the close without any further setbacks.

    Hampshire coach Craig White said: "I thought it was an amazing day's cricket. There was certainly a fair bit of spin out there, but wee are a little disappointed with the total we posted with the bat.

    "Having said that, to get them five wickets down at the close, was excellent on our par. To be honest, had things have gone our way, it could have been seven or eight down. Tomorrow we need to have good first hour and to make sure that we are out there batting again as quickly as possible."

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