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Ivo Tennant at Taunton
July 19, 2012
Warwickshire 387 for 7 (Troughton 132*, Woakes 107, Chopra 93) v Somerset
It had been three months since Marcus Trescothick, whose importance to his beloved Somerset cannot be overstated, was able to bat. Whether on account of the extent of what initially appeared a standard injury, or his age, or probably both, his return to the crease had been delayed longer than anticipated. Now, after making 42 for the Second X1 against Essex and stationing himself at first slip, he might well be fit enough to play in his county's Friends Life t20 quarter-final on Tuesday.
Trescothick, the foremost batsman in the county game, will assess the state of his ruptured tendons after one further innings and is likely to make a decision as to his fitness on Tuesday morning. He is, it need hardly be said, "desperate" to play. Brian Rose, Somerset's director of cricket, who journeyed to Coggeshall to watch him bat, is, of course, equally keen for him to return.
"Marcus has done very well, but he is still a little wobbly on his legs," Rose said. "There is no swelling in his ankles, which is a very good sign. We have another one day fixture against the Essex Second X1 and then a CB40 match on Sunday before the quarter-final. We are still being cautious."
Trescothick himself has another concern about the quarter-final: "The 4.15 start is far from ideal for working spectators, but it has been arranged so two quarter-finals can be screened on the same evening. We are hoping Albie Morkel will be released by South Africa to join his compatriot Richard Levi in our side."
Such selections illustrate how hard it is for young supporters - indeed any supporters - to forge an affinity with their local side, so the return of Trescothick, by name and deed a true Westcountryman, will be especially welcome. As, to a lesser degree, has been the reappearance of Max Waller, playing his first championship match for Somerset at Taunton since August 2009 and indeed his first anywhere since that season. He took the wicket of Rikki Clarke on a day of solid run-scoring by the first division leaders.
Varun Chopra, who relishes batting at Taunton, progressed to 93, including 17 fours and a fair degree of application. He collected rather than smashed these runs. Jim Troughton batted with no less assiduousness, for the ball swung in the morning under cloud cover and there was some slow turn for Waller in the afternoon. A straight six off Arul Suppiah's left arm spin was the shot of the day and, come the close, he was undefeated on 132 after five and a half hours batting.
Chris Woakes, too, played a substantial innings. His contribution to a stand of 204 in 50.1 overs with Troughton was 107, his century reached off 142 balls with his 17th four, clouted to midwicket off Waller.
As to Somerset's attack, Alfonso Thomas was the pick. In the morning he had Laurie Evans held in the slips through away swing, Chopra caught down the leg side by Craig Kieswetter, who had missed a more difficult chance off a similar leg glance, and Darren Maddy for a duck by movement away from the bat.
Waller struggled with his control, but that was inevitable after such a long time out of first-class cricket. His figures in his two previous matches, back in 2009, were 0 for 147 and 1 for 37 in the two innings in which he came on, which would offer one reason why he had not been chosen again before this match.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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