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David Lloyd at Taunton
August 3, 2013
Somerset 70 for 1 trail Nottinghamshire 378 (Mullaney 75, Hussey 68, Fletcher 58) by 308 runs
These are tough old times for Marcus Trescothick. The batsman who has scored runs for fun throughout most of his career failed again as Somerset once more found themselves up against it in a Championship match.
Almost unbelievably, the former England opener is still looking for his first first-class century of the season and his average, after 22 innings, is now down to 27.
Trescothick must have come into this contest with high hopes. Not only did he confirm his recovery from an ankle injury, which saw him miss several T20 games, by playing for the seconds against MCC Universities on Wednesday and Thursday but he also indicated that his touch and timing were back in decent order by taking a double-hundred off the students.
When it came to facing Nottinghamshire's new-ball pair of Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney, however, the now 37-year-old opener simply could not get going. He was watchful, gave himself a good ticking off after playing and missing on at least one occasion, but couldn't find the one flowing drive that might have set him free.
In fairness, Fletcher and Gurney deserved plenty of credit for keeping things so tight that only nine runs came from their first seven overs. And then, midway, through the eighth, left-armer Gurney forced Trescothick to push at one holding its line just outside off stump and the resulting edge was snaffled, low down, by Steven Mullaney at third slip.
Off went the home captain to sympathetic applause. But a 27-ball, 29-minute innings of 2 had merely added to Trescothick's string of low scores - a string that has seen him reach 50 on just four occasions this campaign.
There are still five and a half Championship matches left, of course. And an on-song Trescothick could do a lot of damage in 11 innings. At the moment, though, there is no doubt he is struggling, and it doesn't make pleasant viewing for anyone who has enjoyed seeing him at his commanding best.
At least an early wicket did not prompt a Somerset collapse. That would have been a real sickener for home supporters who had already witnessed Notts' last two wickets adding 108 highly damaging runs.
Nick Compton and Chris Jones combined for an unbeaten 61 before the second of two heavy downpours resulted in play being abandoned for the day at 4pm. Jones, who scored a century against the Australians on this ground a few weeks ago, was the more fluent of the two although he was almost caught at short leg, off the face of the bat, for 32 soon after spinner Samit Patel entered the attack.
Fletcher and Gurney had set the tone for Notts even before they got to work with the ball. The latter joined Fletcher during the first over of the day after Ajmal Shahzad had lost his off stump to Peter Trego when playing no shot.
But if Somerset thought their job was done in the field with the ending of a 57-run stand, the visitors' tenth-wicket pair made them think again. With Gurney looking anything but a rabbit at No. 11, Fletcher pulled and drove his way to a run-a-ball half-century (his second fifty of the season) and added eight more runs before gloving an attempted hook against Jamie Overton.
With more rain forecast for Sunday, Somerset should not lose this game. But a team third from bottom wants to be thinking of winning matches at this stage of the season, not hanging on for draws.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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