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Les Smith at Chester-le-Street
April 12, 2013
Somerset 132 and 96 for 2 (Kieswetter 39*) need another 139 runs to beat Durham 250 and 116
Craig Kieswetter has had a fine match, taking everything that came his way behind the stumps and playing an instrumental role with the bat to put Somerset in a position from which they are well placed to win.
A wicketkeeper is only as good as his bowlers but Somerset's impressive attack offered Kieswetter eight chances in the match and he snaffled the lot. His batting could also been crucial in a low-scoring match. In Somerset's first innings, promoted up the order to No. 3 in the absence of Nick Compton and Alviro Petersen, he came in with 12 on the board and steadied the ship for the best part of 20 overs. When he walked to the crease for the second time, his side was in a healthier position but still had a lot to do in pursuit of the 235 set by Durham. By the time bad light brought the day's play to an end he had 39 to his name. His approach was exactly what Somerset needed, watchful in conditions which still favoured the bowlers, but severe on anything loose, scoring five boundaries.
Only 35 overs were bowled in the day and play didn't get going until 1.40pm. After a gloomy morning, the improvement in the light was barely discernible but nobody, apart perhaps from the fielders on another bitter day, was complaining. Three hours later the light worsened and that was it again.
It took Somerset half an hour and eight overs to take the last two Durham wickets. First to go was Phil Mustard who had batted splendidly on the previous evening, but was furious with himself when he was run out attempting a second. The fielding and throw by Jamie Overton were excellent but it was a waste. Overton, who turned 19 two days ago, was Marcus Trescothick's choice to do the bowling from the River End, and he showed a youthful eagerness to pitch the ball short, especially when he was bowling to Graham Onions. That may not seem such a good idea if Overton finds himself facing Onions on Saturday.
Last man Chris Rushworth put bat to ball and had the third highest score of the innings, but he nicked to Kieswetter to give Alfonso Thomas his fourth wicket of the innings.
The importance of Marcus Trescothick's batting to Somerset was clearly demonstrated by the jubilation with which the Durham players reacted to his dismissal for 6 in the first innings. When he went in for the second time he looked much more secure, defending solidly and driving beautifully straight and through the covers. It was a surprise, therefore, that when Ben Stokes replaced Onions he bowled him with his fifth ball. Earlier Onions had trapped Arul Suppiah on his crease with a delivery that nipped in and stayed a little low.
Suppiah's dismissal brought in Kieswetter and, if he can carry on tomorrow as he started this afternoon, Somerset may have the edge.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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