Amla pair leaves Surrey struggling
Surrey 195 and 97 for 4 (Burns 40) lead Somerset 260 by 32 runs
Lewis Gregory and Peter Trego struck twice each as Somerset strengthened their grip on the relegation clash with Surrey at Taunton. But, to the frustration of the home side, rain allowed only 29.2 overs on day three and they now face a race against time to press home their advantage, with Surrey 97 for 4 in their second innings and leading by 32 runs.
The visitors resumed on 13 without loss but again their top order batting imploded, with Hashim Amla bagging a pair as Gregory struck twice early on. Rory Burns and Vikram Solanki offered some resistance, but Surrey had good cause to be grateful when the weather intervened an hour after lunch, with both back in the pavilion.
The start of play had been delayed by an hour by morning drizzle and Somerset needed an early breakthrough. It came with the total on 21 when Championship debutant Dominic Sibley hung his bat out tamely at a wide ball from Gregory and edged a comfortable catch to Marcus Trescothick at second slip.
Without addition to the total, Amla, who had been strangled down the leg side in the first innings, offered a more routine catch to wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter in Gregory's next over.
The watchful Burns waited until the 12th over of the day before adding to his overnight score of 5. At lunch he was on 25, with Solanki on 14 and the scoreboard reading 56 for 2. The pair took the total to 84 in the shortened afternoon session before Solanki played forward to Trego and edged another catch to Trescothick in the slips.
It was the second time in the game that Solanki had got a start and, with a lead of only 19, Surrey were still in a deep hole. Burns blossomed to hit eight fours and was visibly annoyed when he threw the bat at a wide delivery from Trego and edging a sharp chance to James Hildreth at first slip.
The catch was made all the more creditable by the fact that Kieswetter dived across Hildreth in an attempt to take the ball, a move which might easily have led to the fielder taking his eye off the ball.
Surrey were 97 for 4 and Burns' frustration could only have increased when the spitting rain immediately began to fall more heavily, forcing the players off before new batsman Steven Davies had a chance to face. The weather closed in and play was abandoned for the day at just after 4pm.