Somerset v Warwickshire, Taunton, 3rd day April 16, 2011

Sorry Somerset collapse to defeat

George Dobell at Taunton

Warwickshire 642 beat Somerset 210 and 50 by an innings and 382 runs
Scorecard

Chris Broad once remarked that he had 'run out of expletives' to describe a passage of play.

While it might not have been exactly what Broad meant, the phrase would have been perfectly apt in summing up the third - and final - day of Somerset's Championship match against Warwickshire at Taunton.

The pertinent points are these: Warwickshire beat Somerset by an innings and 382 runs. It is the sixth-largest margin of defeat in the history of the County Championship and the largest since 1921. It was also Somerset's largest defeat since 1895.

Afterwards Somerset's captain, Marcus Trescothick, admitted he was at a loss to explain his team's dreadful performance. "I'm baffled," he said. "It's not good enough and there aren't any excuses. We're all a bit confused by what's just happened."

As well he might be. For Trescothick had just witnessed his team - who went into this game as favourites to lift the Championship title - dismissed in only 88 deliveries. While that would be shocking enough on any occasion, it was all the more remarkable for the fact that Warwickshire had, the previous day, amassed 642. Somerset could hardly blame the pitch.

They couldn't really blame the bowling, either. While Warwickshire, the excellent Rikki Clarke aside, bowled impressively, they will bowl far better and concede 400. The truth is that Somerset's batting was awful. Quite wretchedly awful. Having lost 12 wickets in the morning session, and being forced to follow-on 432 runs adrift, it took only 10 deliveries after lunch to wrap up the game.

Warwickshire deserve credit, though. Their four seamers, working as a pack, bowled with far more pace and skill than Somerset's had mustered and managed to find life in a pitch that had previously appeared sedate.

Clarke was the pick of the Warwickshire attack. Bowling at a sharp pace and with excellent control, Clarke generated steep bounce from the hitherto sluggish surface and looked, by some distance, the most menacing bowler on either side. This was just the second five-wicket haul of his career, but it will not take too many performances like this before he's interesting the England selectors again.

Chris Woakes also impressed. Woakes, swinging the ball both ways, planted a seed of uncertainty in the batsmen's mind that grew to the size of an oak tree. He wasn't quite at his best but, having taken 6 for 85 in the first innings, he claimed three more in the second, including the crucial scalps of Trescothick and Kieswetter. Trescothick later referred to him as a "class bowler" and a "great player" in the making; high praise, indeed.

Woakes came within an ace of creating a little bit of history, too. Had he been able to take one more wicket, he would have become the first man to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same County Championship match since David Millns, an umpire in this game, did so in 1996. As it was, Woakes had to be content with becoming only the third Warwickshire man to score a century and take five wickets in a Championship innings since the war and the first since Dougie Brown in 2004.

The only clouds on Warwickshire's horizon are that Woakes looked in a little discomfort at the end of the game and Richard Johnson deputised for Tim Ambrose, who had pulled a muscle.

Somerset had far more pressing problems. Their attack looked toothless and their batting lacked backbone. If this third day was a test of character, it is a test they failed in embarrassing fashion.

They never seemed up for the fight. Instead of making Warwickshire fight for their wickets, the Somerset batsmen seemed intent on thumping boundaries and counter-attacking. It was, at best, a naive ploy. At worst, it demonstrated a lack of care. Really, this was an appallingly bad display. Their second innings score of 50 was their lowest first-class total since 1968 and the equal lowest ever against Warwickshire.

The lowlights? Well, Arul Suppiah leaving a straight ball - not an inswinger - might sound hard to beat, but James Hildreth's attempt to play another straight one through square leg was even less clever. Craig Kieswetter, perhaps forgetting that his job was to occupy the crease for a day-and-a-half, punched to point as he tried to force off the back foot and Charl Willoughby, looking as if he couldn't be bothered to bat, suffered a king pair in just over an hour of cricket as he first tried to slog one over the old pavilion and was then yorked by Clarke. Menawhile Trescothick pushed at an outswinger and edged to cover and Jos Buttler pushed at one that bounced and left him. Perhaps Nick Compton, who looked as if he may have got some bat on one that nipped back, can count himself unfortunate, while Peter Trego remained unbeaten in both innings.

It's worth reflecting on Gemaal Hussain's first game for Somerset, too. After conceding more runs than ever before, Hussain was dismissed twice, for a pair, within 89 minutes on the third morning. Might that be the worst debut in history?

Afterwards Warwickshire's new captain, Jim Troughton, was honest enough to admit that he, too, would have inserted had he won the toss, while Trescothick suggested little should be read into such a result. "We lost our first two games last year," Trescothick pointed out, "but still finished equal top [on points] at the end. There won't be any 'bad-boy' nets or anything like that. Those days have gone; at least at Somerset."

He's probably right. After all, Nottinghamshire suffered a similar reverse - bowled out for 59 - last year and still went on to lift the Championship. It is a long season and the odd hiccup is to be expected. But an innings and 382-runs? That's a mighty big hiccup.

Warwickshire, meanwhile, can feel very proud of themselves. After their travails last year, many pundits thought they'd face a fight to avoid relegation this year. Perhaps they might yet, but they've started in superb fashion and with Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Mohammad Yousuf and Neil Carter to come into the team over the next few weeks, can look ahead with a little more confidence.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SDHM on April 17, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    CricketingStargazer - an awful performance from us lot, on the best batting pitch in the country to boot. I agree about Rikki Clarke, why the report mentions him as an England prospect over Chris Woakes is beyond me. More games like this for Warwickshire and I can see Woakes forcing his way into the Test reckoning before long.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 16, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Kirby and Hussain must be thinking fondly of Bristol and wondering if they did the right thing moving west. The two looked so good last season and must have disappointed the Taunton patrons by their efforts but surely they will have better days. It's hard to imagine Somerset, with a side packed with talent, will have such a bad game again. Interesting comment about Rikki Clarke. He must be the greatest wasted talent in the English game right now. 7-32 in the match was a magnificent effort, but he'll need to score a lot of runs to get into the frame again and, probably, it is simply too late: too many seasons without producing.

  • SDHM on April 17, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    CricketingStargazer - an awful performance from us lot, on the best batting pitch in the country to boot. I agree about Rikki Clarke, why the report mentions him as an England prospect over Chris Woakes is beyond me. More games like this for Warwickshire and I can see Woakes forcing his way into the Test reckoning before long.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 16, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Kirby and Hussain must be thinking fondly of Bristol and wondering if they did the right thing moving west. The two looked so good last season and must have disappointed the Taunton patrons by their efforts but surely they will have better days. It's hard to imagine Somerset, with a side packed with talent, will have such a bad game again. Interesting comment about Rikki Clarke. He must be the greatest wasted talent in the English game right now. 7-32 in the match was a magnificent effort, but he'll need to score a lot of runs to get into the frame again and, probably, it is simply too late: too many seasons without producing.

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  • CricketingStargazer on April 16, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Kirby and Hussain must be thinking fondly of Bristol and wondering if they did the right thing moving west. The two looked so good last season and must have disappointed the Taunton patrons by their efforts but surely they will have better days. It's hard to imagine Somerset, with a side packed with talent, will have such a bad game again. Interesting comment about Rikki Clarke. He must be the greatest wasted talent in the English game right now. 7-32 in the match was a magnificent effort, but he'll need to score a lot of runs to get into the frame again and, probably, it is simply too late: too many seasons without producing.

  • SDHM on April 17, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    CricketingStargazer - an awful performance from us lot, on the best batting pitch in the country to boot. I agree about Rikki Clarke, why the report mentions him as an England prospect over Chris Woakes is beyond me. More games like this for Warwickshire and I can see Woakes forcing his way into the Test reckoning before long.