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Ivo Tennant at Taunton
July 21, 2012
Somerset 254 (Compton 73*, Suppiah 54, Patel 7-75) and 273 for 9 (Kieswetter 152, Compton 52, Barker 6-40) and beat Warwickshire 400 (Troughton 132, Woakes 107, Chopra 93) and 124 (Hussain 5-48) by 1 wicket
For Somerset, this was a triumph quite unimaginable after the advantage that Warwickshire, the championship leaders, had achieved with bat and ball earlier in this match.
For Craig Kieswetter, the highest praise that could be accorded his 152, full of muscular six hitting, was that it was in the finest West Country tradition. Needing 271 to win, he and Nick Compton brought about victory in their wholly differing styles.
Only just, mind, by one wicket after five in the lower order had gone for just 12 runs. An on driven four by Peter Trego off Jeetan Patel settled the issue.
What an ideal contrasting pair Compton and Kieswetter make: although both from South Africa, the application of the former, best known for his runs in the four-day game, is counter-pointed by the clean hitting of the latter, best known for his exploits in T20 cricket. By the time Compton had reached his half century, made off 143 balls with four fours, Kieswetter had already gone to his first century of the season - and in a most grand style.
Patel, who had returned career best figures of 7 for 75 in Somerset's first innings, was struck for three sixes in one over, all between square leg and midwicket. Twice the Warwickshire fielders in the deep had the ignominy of searching for the ball behind the bank of seats in front of the unappealing apartments that have been built here to ensure the club remained in good financial order.
As well as excelling with the pull, the shot often executed several yards down the pitch, Kieswetter was displaying the kind of quick-hands drive that scotches any spin and which has been patented, if not devised, by Kevin Pietersen. This was effective against Patel, who was still gaining some turn out of the rough created by Keith Barker, bowling left arm over the wicket and who almost had Kieswetter pouched at backward short leg off a glove.
At tea, Somerset needed 127 off 38 overs and with two strikers of the ball in Jos Buttler and Peter Trego still to come. Nothing seemed more likely than that Compton would reach 1,000 championship runs for the season - he required 65 in this innings - but, having made 52, he pushed forward at Chris Woakes and achieved only a thin edge to Tim Ambrose behind the wicket. His partnership with Kieswetter had amounted to 166 off 43 overs and had given Somerset a quite unexpected chance of victory given they had lost their first three wickets for 15.
Buttler, exuding talent and self-belief, drove dismissively through the off side in making 24 off 23 balls before too loose a drive at Barker, when he returned at the Pavilion End, resulted in a catch to first slip. Kieswetter, having swung Patel for a fourth six, this time over square leg, lifted Chris Wright onto the roof of the cowshed. Extraordinarily, there were seven fielders on the boundary in Wright's next over.
He then went to 150 by driving Barker for six over long off, only to hook the next ball straight to long leg. Only 12 were needed at this stage, but there was a further twist. Craig Meschede steered Barker to first slip and, next ball, Alfonso Thomas edged to second slip. Max Waller averted the hat trick but, in Barker's next over, was also taken at first slip: a sixth wicket and career-best figures for the former Blackburn Rovers footballer.
An on driven four by Trego off Patel settled the issue.
The target of 271 had come about not through a declaration, as was anticipated overnight, but through Warwickshire inexplicably losing seven wickets before lunch for the addition of just 58 runs. Gemaal Hussain, playing in only his second championship match of the season, and who has found wicket-taking rather harder here than at Bristol - indeed, he had yet to take a wicket - finished with 5 for 48.
It was tempting earlier this season to think that Gloucestershire had shed Hussain, Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby from their payroll at the ideal time, but there is bowling left in all three assuming they are not injured too often.
Hussain's steady medium pace ensured the match was nicely set up, for the chances were that Jim Troughton, Warwickshire's captain, would not have left Somerset a target under 300. Somerset are now just eight points behind Warwickshire, who have a match in hand.
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