August 27, 2003

Placid pitch allows Somerset to close in

A maiden century from Neil Edwards took Somerset to within 61 runs of Hampshire's first innings total by the end of a run-filled second day on a typically flat Taunton wicket.

Hampshire added 95 more runs falling just five runs short of a rare maximum batting points with the limping Robin Smith posting an unbeaten half century (56*) from 95 balls including eight fours and a six as he and Shaun Udal (30)moved the visitors close to 400.

Steffan Jones cleaned up the tail with 4-102.

But as the wicket flattened out, bowling became more and more difficult although Hampshire, with Dimitri Mascarenhas and Lawrence Prittipaul the main culprits, bowling particularly poorly as Cornishman Edwards, in just his fourth first-class match and with a previous best of just 45, tucked in with glee.

Edwards and James Bryant (73) added 147 before the latter became a surprise victim to Derek Kenway with his first ball of the season. It is just his fourth first-class wicket!

The youngster hit 160 from just 184 balls - it showed how easy paced the wicket was and how poorly some of the bowlers had performed. Bournemouth-based Tom Webley and Ian Blackwell saw the home side to 338-4 by close of play.

Neither side will want to give much away, so the draw could be the most likely result on this most placid of pitches.