Teenager Dom Bess claimed a career-best seven for 117 as Hampshire set Somerset 259 to win on the second day of the action-packed Specsavers County Championship match at Taunton.
It was the third time in his four Championship appearances that the 19-year-old off-spinner has taken five or more wickets in an innings. Despite his efforts, Hampshire enjoyed the better of a day that began with Somerset 157 for five in reply to 162.The home side could add only 40 as Kyle Abbott finished with four for 49 and Liam Dawson four for 63.
Hampshire then batted aggressively to post 293 in their second innings, Michael Carberry making 51 and Gareth Berg 49. By the close Somerset had reached 39 without loss in their second innings on a pitch offering turn and bounce and required a further 220 for victory.
The morning was dominated by Hampshire, aided by some poor shots from the Somerset tail. Abbott and Dawson both added to their first day victims, while Berg wrapped up the innings with two for eight from 2.3 overs. By lunch the visitors had comfortably wiped out a 35-run deficit on first innings, reaching 54 without loss. After the break, Carberry and Dawson extended their opening stand to 84 before a see-saw contest took another turn.
Carberry drove Bess in the air to cover where James Hildreth parried the ball into the path of extra cover fielder Tom Abell. It signalled a collapse to 140 for six, Bess claiming the first five wickets to fall.
The pick of his deliveries beat James Vince in the flight as he advanced and bowled him through the gate for 19, a cameo that included 2 sixes and a four.
Throughout the afternoon Hampshire batted in a cavalier fashion and at first, it seemed the approach might be their downfall.When Jack Leach bowled Lewis McManus aiming a big swing the ball after hitting him for six, the lead was only 105 and Somerset looked to have regained the initiative.But Berg had other ideas, striking 7 fours and 2 sixes, as the Hampshire tail wagged to considerable effect. Abbott hit a valuable 33 before Mason Crane built on those efforts with a career-best 29.
But Berg had other ideas, striking 7 fours and 2 sixes, as the Hampshire tail wagged to considerable effect. Abbott hit a valuable 33 before Mason Crane built on those efforts with a career-best 29.
Reece Topley shared a priceless last-wicket stand of 36 with Crane before he was eventually caught at mid-on to give Bess, who sent down 23.3 overs, turning the ball at just the right pace, his seventh wicket.
WICKET & INNINGS: Bess takes his seventh wicket of the innings, Crane (29) well-held by Overton.— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) May 27, 2017
Hampshire conclude on 293 (258 lead). 🌹&👑
It has been an extraordinary start to the career of the young Sidmouth cricketer, who already boasts 23 wickets in seven Championship innings, having made his debut towards the end of last season. He also took an excellent running catch at third-man to dismiss the dangerous Sean Ervine for 27 off Jamie Overton, who bowled well for his two for 43.
Somerset's Dom Bess said: "It feels a bit surreal. I was concentrating so hard on trying to take wickets for the team that I didn't really think too much about my figures. The pitch flattened out as the day wore on and I was particularly pleased to get batsmen out when that became the case. It gives me confidence to know I can take wickets, even when conditions are not greatly in my favour."
"I am 100 per cent confident that we will win tomorrow. We have an excellent batting line-up and if we can overcome the new ball, which will bounce a bit, I think it should become easier to score."
Somerset were left with ten overs in the day to bat and set about their target with vigour, Marcus Trescothick taking three boundaries in an over off Topley. He was unbeaten on 21 at the close, with Dean Elgar 17 not out.