Kieswetter ton nudges the selectors
Somerset 309 v Worcestershire
It has become a question of whether Craig Kieswetter will regain his place in England's one-day side before Jos Buttler assumes it ahead of him. There were no selectors on the County Ground on Wednesday, but one or two other excellent judges, notably Jack Birkenshaw and Vic Marks, were properly impressed by his first Championship century since September 2009 and the seventh of his career.
Nor was this was made on the customary flat pitch here. Kieswetter came in when Somerset were 53 for 3, having lost two wickets on that total, and Worcestershire's medium pacers were bowling with greater accuracy and obtaining more swing than their figures would suggest. Damien Wright deserved better than to dismiss just Nick Compton and a tail-ender; Alan Richardson constantly probed outside off stump and Gareth Andrew, who took four wickets, had the motivation of competing against his old county.
"The ball swung and seamed a bit but technically I felt strong," said Kieswetter. "To be able to come in and bat at number five is nice and Graham Thorpe assisted me a lot during the winter with my batting. People talk about me having had a bad summer last year but they forget that I played for England."
Andrew it was who removed both openers. Marcus Trescothick had deliberated long and hard upon winning the toss. No captain, let alone him, is deceived nowadays by extra grass being left on the pitch at Taunton, for that invariably results in only a modicum of movement off the seam for just the first hour. This time, though, it was overcast. The ball might - and did - swing.
Trescothick uncharacteristically took half an hour to get off the mark and thereafter was never at his corruscating best. Arul Suppiah put on 44 with him before edging Andrew to first slip. Then the captain, having run his former colleague to the third man boundary, which inevitably was not policed, played on to the next ball when attempting much the same shot. It is one that brings him countless runs in one day cricket, even when executed, as it was here, close to his body.
Next, a dreadful mix-up between Compton, who had not scored, and James Hildreth, who had not faced a ball. Compton called his partner for an improbable single, the ball pushed out to widish mid-off, and, speedy though Hildreth always is between the wickets, he had no chance of beating James Cameron's throw if it proved to be direct. As it was. Birkenshaw, the ECB's pitch inspector, correctly called that he would be out when still halfway down the pitch.
Compton, then, had much to do. He did not get off the mark until the 24th ball he faced and Kieswetter it was who looked more the part as they resuscitated the innings. Twice he was dropped, at third slip, badly by Moeen Ali off Wright on 44, and then a run later at square leg off Richardson, but two sixes in one over off Andrew and a nerveless progression through the 'nineties took him to a century off 149 balls with 11 fours besides.
Wright, his action reminiscent of Stuart Clark's, merited the wicket of Compton, who had reached a half century with seven fours when he was also taken at first slip by Vikram Solanki. The pair had added 167 in 48 overs and justified Trescothick's decision to bat. Kieswetter finally went for 117 and it was then a question of whether the tail could give sufficient support to Peter Trego to reach a total of 300.
Given that Gemaal Hussain, Steve Kirby and Charl Willoughby are not the most reliable nine, ten and jack in the land, that was in some doubt. Yet Trego swung Jack Shantry for two successive fours to reach his own half-century, off 57 balls, and three batting points for his side.