Somerset grateful for Kieswetter ton
Warwickshire 0 for 0 trail Somerset 340 (Kieswetter 148) by 340 runs
Present-day Edgbaston has amphitheatrical architecture and the atmosphere of an arena, so maybe it was appropriate that three lions bit deep into these two sides before this match began. Warwickshire, of course, were resigned to losing Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell to the full England side but they may be without Chris Woakes, too, while the national team's second string has claimed Boyd Rankin.
The Lions also required the services of Somerset's Jos Buttler and Jamie Overton but Somerset's batsmen must have reckoned they had a chance of building a substantial total against an under-strength attack, all the more so when they won they won the toss and opted to have first use of a pitch that seems likely to help spinners later in the game.
Yet it was not until late-ish in the second session of the first day that Marcus Trescothick's men began to dominate the home attack and even that modest supremacy was exercised by Craig Kieswetter, who was twice dropped on his way to making his first Championship century of the season.
By the evening, the Somerset wicketkeeper-batsman had begun to play with something of his familiar swagger and it needed the new ball to remove him, Keith Barker catching his edge with extra bounce when Kieswetter had made 148 off 192 balls.
His hundred was particularly good news for his relegation-threatened county, accompanying suggestions that Nick Compton may yet sign a new contract to remain at the County Ground.
"There's no signature on any paper but we're pretty close," Somerset's director of cricket, Dave Nosworthy, said. "It's been going on for a few weeks but it's very much his decision. We would very much love to have Nick Compton remain at Somerset."
It is understood that Warwickshire have made formal 28-day approaches for both Compton and Buttler. In the meantime, however, the home team's concern is to further their ambition to retain their title by defeating Somerset in this game and, after 20 overs of the morning's play, they had made a decent start. By then Compton had padded up to a ball from Barker which swung in late and Chris Jones had slapped Tom Milnes straight to Jeetan Patel in the gully.
And it was Patel who claimed the still-prized wicket of Trescothick when his third ball of the day turned and caught the edge of the Somerset opener's bat before going on to the safe hands of Rikki Clarke at slip. That left the visitors on 65 for 3 and in danger of wasting the opportunity to bat first.
Such profligacy was averted first by an 89-run partnership between Kieswetter and James Hildreth, who limply guided Milnes to Varun Chopra when on 33, and then by an even better stand of 119 in 32 overs which Kieswetter shared with Barrow.
Gradually the England international began to play with his familiar savage assurance. He put behind him his two let-offs on 22 and 74, slip Chopra and gully William Porterfield being the offending parties, and asserted himself in a manner the supporters at Taunton know and love. He reached a century with a scrambled two off Patel but his sixes down the ground and over long-on were dismissive reminders to Milnes of how unforgiving Division One cricket can be.
Still, though, Warwickshire were allowed their encouragements and most of them came through the bowling of Patel. The New Zealand offspinner turned one sufficiently to beat Barrow's back foot defensive stroke and he then induced Peter Trego, pretty brainlessly if truth be told, to hit his second ball straight to Barker at mid-on.
Those reverses began a 17-over spell in which Somerset lost their last six wickets for 67 runs, two of them falling to Clarke in the space of five balls. In their way they epitomised a day which had contained its share of both excellence and error. Neither of these sides can afford much of the latter if they are to achieve their contrasting objectives. Warwickshire will need to bat well in their first innings and Somerset's decision to give left-arm spinner George Dockrell the new ball suggests merely one of this match's future themes.