Somerset v Yorkshire, Div 1, Taunton, 1st day April 13, 2014

Lyth gets that Taunton feeling

Yorkshire 342 for 5 (Rashid 85*, Lyth 85, Ballance 77) v Somerset

A batsman seeking form and international recognition relishes coming to Taunton. That was always the case in the fondly remembered days when Phil Frost cut pitches for avaricious run-gatherers and not much has changed in this era of relaid surfaces.

So it was that Adam Lyth, who often scores heavily here, scored 85, Adil Rashid one run fewer with the prospect of a hundred on the morrow, and Gary Ballance, seeking the attention of England's selectors as he looks to retain his place post-Australia, 77 with a measure of conviction.

In 11 innings at the County Ground, Lyth has made 646 first-class runs at an average of 64.06. In one match in 2010 alone, he struck 142 and 93, and there was a further century last year. Nothing seemed more certain than that he would reach a third century in his visits here: he saw off the new ball after Yorkshire had been put in, swiftly making 69 for the first wicket with Alex Lees, and collected runs all around the wicket against seam - no shortage - and spin, represented here by Johann Myburgh, when George Dockrell might well have been a better bet.

It was to his opening attack that Marcus Trescothick looked upon making the contentious decision to ask Yorkshire to bat. There was a little grass left on the pitch, but then that is often so here. In choosing to omit Jamie Overton, who has, admittedly, been troubled by tendonitis, the captain was asking two change bowlers, Alfonso Thomas and Lewis Gregory, to make the initial breakthrough.

As it transpired, Craig Overton, preferred to his twin, and Craig Meschede, who really were the change bowlers, could well have been given first bowl.

Meschede uprooted Lees' off stump with a yorker that the batsman appeared to see late and promptly had Kane Williamson caught at short mid off for a duck, the drive unconvincing. Andrew Gale became a third victim, leg before for 24. All the while, Lyth prospered. He spoke a year ago of hoping to play for England, but the reality is that too many of his colleagues have the same aspirations, and indeed have achieved them already.

When he was out, having earlier been dropped by Craig Kieswetter on 70, and having struck 14 fours in a stay of 160 balls, it was an unfortunate dismissal. His swivel pull was properly middled and the catch, by Gregory at midwicket off Overton, was a terrific one - right handed and stooping to his right in anticipation.

Ballance , meanwhile, had taken 25 balls to get off the mark. Not that this affected his cover driving: one superlative front foot shot through the covers off Meschede was the shot of the day. Now partnered by Rashid, he progressed inexorably towards a century, only to be beaten when Gregory took the new ball. He had struck ten fours and his partnership with Rashid realised 115 off 32 overs.

Rashid is tipped by Dickie Bird, who was on the ground in his presidential year with Yorkshire, to play for England before Bird's term of office ends. We shall hold him to that forecast - made, it should be noted, before this innings was underway.

All wristiness in his flicks and square drives, Rashid was 15 short of his century at the close of a bright day. Would Yorkshire have batted had they won the toss? "We were happy to do so," said Jason Gillespie, their coach, doubtless not wishing to sound critical of Trescothick, his old opponent from their Ashes days.

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  • James on April 14, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    I was there yesterday, and true its a good track, but if was going to do anything it would have done something on the first morning so I kinda get the decision to put Yorks in. TBH if we had taken our catches we could have had them 7 or 8 down. The biggest issue for me was the distance between stumps and keeper/slips - edges rarely carried and Kiesy spent most of the day taking it round his ankles, didn't take a genius to work out they were too far back, its not like any of our bowlers are super quick. Trego had an injury niggle which was why he wasn't risked for the full 4 days and sent for a 1 dayer in the 2nd's. I'm not sure I get the Myburgh thing, don't want to judge him this early on but he seemed a pretty innocuous bowler from what I saw. J Overton had tendonitis so was not risked either...

  • Simon on April 14, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    Well the only positive I can draw, and I am officially clutching at straws here, is that we are playing a batting lineup that should be able to not lose this game. With C instead of J overton, Myburgh instead of Leach, and batting to 10, we should get at least a draw out of this. Which would be good given previous years starts! But yes it does pain me no end to see Trego, Leach, J.Overton all home grown and who can be relied upon to play for the shirt and can win games, are in the seconds? Hopefully we'll get the draw we're playing for...... and sense will prevail. Although if players can step up and justify their place then I have no problem with anyones inclusion.

  • John on April 14, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    I said pre season that I worried about Somerset this year.

    Not seen any of the game but it was the best batting score yesterday. I'd also say (even without seeing the pitch) that the pitch would likely be dry and flat (based on the weather we've had in recent days) and the conditions would likely be favourable to batsmen. Therefore it would seem strange that we put Yorks in when we have chosen a batsman heavy line up

  • Martin on April 13, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    As a Somerset fan I'm concerned about this season. I don't think we're going in the right direction under Nosworthy. The signing of a 33-year-old journeyman in Myburgh was pretty uninspiring and to pack the batting by picking him as the spinner ahead of Dockrell (meaning that Gregory, who at times last season batted at 3, is down to go in at 9), is a poor decision and suggests we don't have a lot of confidence in our batting line-up.

  • Paul on April 13, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Johann Myburgh is embarrassingly out of his depth as the sole spinner. Little control and no threat. Somerset have at least three excellent young spinners who have been nurtured by the County for years: George Dockrell, Max Waller and Jack Leach.

    They're all ignored by Dave Nosworthy, the S African Director of Cricket and laughing stock under whom Somerset now labours, and we are lumbered with the S African Myburgh, a proven failure last year in the Durham 2nd XI.

  • Tim on April 13, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    I have a feeling that this may be a long season for Somerset and not in a good way!

    Basically the side that just avoided relegation last year has only changed in losing one of the most talented batsmen of his generation Jos Buttler (who also just happened to be from Somerset) and replacing him with an unknown South African who was playing club cricket in Surrey last summer.

    Kirby is already injured and Thomas can't go on forever.

    Not sure that Myburgh in and Trego sent off to play for the 2nds against Devon was the best decision either. Also the 2nds had 3 spinners playing Leach Waller and Dockrell - the 1st team none.Hmm

    I felt that Nosworthy as coach had a lot to prove after last summer and nothing has changed after the 1st day of this match.

    Still I look forward to a day of sunshine tomorrow and watching Somerset start to match Yorks total - hopefully- and hopefully seeing Rashid bowl as well as batting!

  • Matthew on April 13, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    Yet again Trescothick shows that he is not up to the job as captain a great player (at his peak) but an absolutely abysmal captain. He must have been the only man in Taunton today that saw a flat hard wicket, with the sun shinning and thought that is was a good idea to bowl.

    As for the team they are playing the wrong Overton and Leach should be in for Jones as Myburgh is just a part time spinner and should not be bowling 14 overs on the first day.

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    going to Taunton as a batsman looking for international recognition is pointless. Because the pitch is renowned for being a belter to bat on, a ton there would only be regarded as highly as say a 70 at a ground like Trent Bridge where it's a seamers pitch generally or the Ageas Bowl/Swalec stadium where its more likely to be a spinners pitch.

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