Trescothick offers Somerset a glimmer
Somerset 232 for 6 (Hildreth 76*, Trescothick 74) trail Yorkshire 450 for 5 dec (Lyth 105, Rashid 103*) by 218 runs
Marcus Trescothick has never known a season like this one. Not, personally, with the bat and neither, collectively, as a team. He was averaging 27.72 before taking guard against Yorkshire, with the little matter of 301 runs required to save the follow-on and, maybe, Somerset's season. This is a plight that the captain has not experienced at the County Ground before now.
Trescothick responded manfully, all his know-how and expertise to the fore - and a degree of his familiar sublime timing. It is not hard to ascertain when he is feeling his way back into form. The body weight is swiftly transferred onto the front foot, the ball is struck with the minimum of follow through and is sent scudding to the boundary. It is what the West Indians would call 'a not a man move' shot. The inner ring give up any pretence at a chase.
He had made 74, with 12 fours, his highest score of the season, when he played outside the line of a straight ball from Richard Pyrah and was palpably leg before. That one misjudgement indicated he is not yet back to his best: a few more such innings are necessary before we can state that. Or, much more to the point, he will start to feel this himself.
Still, May is not yet out. Two drives in one over from Steven Patterson, one uppish and the other along the ground, both straight, were indicative that, although he will be 38 later this year, the runs will keep flowing for quite a while yet. Of rather more concern to him will be the two slip catches he missed, both off Steve Kirby, when Andrew Hodd was in at the start of the day.
Otherwise, Somerset's batting lacked consistency, which has been the case all summer. Arul Suppiah, whose average for the season remains in single figures, was leg before to Patterson, similarly playing down the wrong line. Lewis Gregory, surprisingly given the chance to come in first wicket down, went the same way, although in his case padding up.
Dean Elgar tucked the ball off his legs in a manner which suggested his five-week stay might well prove fruitful, but he, too, got himself out. A short ball from Ryan Sidebottom was slapped straight to the fielder at point. There were others, too, who needed to play a long innings. James Hildreth, for one. There were signs here, as well, of a return to some sort of form as he reached a half century off 78 balls.
These batsmen are too good to be out of touch for long. The same cannot necessarily be said of Alex Barrow and Peter Trego, who went to Adam Lyth's little used offspin - the light was poor at this stage - in two balls.
At the other end of the run-making spectrum is Adil Rashid, who is averaging more than 200 this season. In six innings he has compiled three centuries and a half-century. Having made a considerable start overnight, he progressed immediately to 50 off 59 balls and, wristily finding the gaps against an attack which appeared jaded on a pitch offering little by way of succour, reached 100 from 119 balls with 14 fours.
Yorkshire could well have batted on, but chose to declare now. Hodd, having survived those two dropped slip catches when on 41 and 50, achieved his highest score for Yorkshire, his 68 coming off 99 balls with eight fours. Against an opposition of scant achievement this season, they would consider that a total of 450 would be sufficient; Yorkshire's prime obstacle, though, is the weather.