Buttler sparks Somerset recovery
Somerset 140 for 3 v Yorkshire
Brutal batting from Jos Buttler wrenched the initiative away from Yorkshire on the rain-hit first day of their County Championship match against Somerset at Headingley.
Needing every point they can muster from their final game of the season to keep alive their faint chance of avoiding relegation, Yorkshire were given encouragement by a double strike by Moin Ashraf which left Somerset on 88 for 3.
But then Buttler launched an assault which brought him nine boundaries and carried the score to 140 for three from 41 overs, before another burst of rain ended play with 12 overs still to be bowled. Nineteen-year-old opener Alex Barrow finished the day unbeaten on 55, with Buttler on 43.
Heavy showers meant the game could not get under way until 2.15pm, by which time 41 overs had been lost, and although Yorkshire had put their opponents in to bat there appeared to be little in the pitch for the seamers.
Ryan Sidebottom and Ajmal Shahzad bowled well enough to make run-scoring difficult for Barrow and Arul Suppiah and the openers had added only 14 by the eighth over when Suppiah attempted to drive a full-length ball from Shahzad which rattled into his stumps.
Chris Jones joined Barrow and the two youngsters continued to progress steadily, their concentration not being helped by light drizzle which kept sweeping the ground, causing one brief interruption with the further loss of two overs.
After an impressive spell, Shahzad was replaced by Ashraf who occasionally strayed too far down the leg side, but one delivery to Barrow found the edge and landed just short of Anthony McGrath at second slip before going through for a streaky boundary.
Further drizzle brought forward the tea interval at 56 for 1 in 21.1 overs, Barrow having made 33 and Jones 14, and on the resumption Jones straight drove Richard Pyrah to the boundary. Both batsmen were growing in confidence and after Barrow had eased his way past his previous best Championship score of 38, Jones pulled a four off Shahzad who had returned for a spell at the Football Stand End.
The second-wicket pair moved their stand on to 76 in 24 overs before they were parted by a superb delivery from Ashraf which pitched on middle and took the off stump of Jones who had made 31 off 81 balls with five boundaries. It was the last ball of Ashraf's over and with the first of his next he produced another full-length delivery which bowled James Hildreth as he played across the line.
Somerset were suddenly 88 for 3 but their situation quickly improved with the appearance of Buttler who blocked the hat-trick ball and wasted little time in taking the attack to Yorkshire. Barrow moved to his maiden half-century from 109 balls with seven boundaries and then Buttler launched an attack on both Sidebottom and Ashraf which rushed him to 34 off 26 balls with seven fours.
Some strokes found the rope off thick edges but a shot through mid-wicket and a straight drive were off the meat of the bat. When the rain returned Buttler had contributed 43 to an unbroken stand of 52 in 47 balls.