Rashid for England? A little Bird says so
Somerset 166 for 3 trail Yorkshire 450 (Rashid 108, Lyth 85, Ballance 77) by 284 runs
It is five years since Adil Rashid last played for England, not in the five day game, as was predicted for him, but in instant cricket as well as in a drinks carrying role that was supposed to equate with gathering experience. No less a luminary than Dickie Bird is now predicting a resumption of his international career, and he made the ideal start by reaching a century against a county whose bowlers he has always relished facing.
Three of Rashid's first-class centuries have come against Somerset. Having made 84 overnight, he progressed to three figures with 17 fours off 167 balls without undue alarm. If anything, the pitch was easier to bat on than on the first day, emphasising the old adage that if wickets are not taken in the first hour of the match at Taunton, they might never be taken at all. Yorkshire will have been disappointed not to have finished with a larger total than 450, having resumed on 342 for five.
Craig Overton, who had Rashid caught at the wicket and also dismissed the other overnight batsman, Andrew Hodd, well taken by Marcus Trescothick two handed above his head, could, and perhaps should, have been given the new ball ahead of Alfonso Thomas and Lewis Gregory. He and his twin brother, Jamie, who has not been selected for this match, very much represent the future for a county in transition.
Hodd had reached a half century with ten fours off 81 balls and Liam Plunkett made useful runs besides. Two of the last three wickets were taken by Johann Myburgh, who finds himself the sole spinner in Somerset's side - doubtless somewhat to his surprise. It is rather stating the obvious that it is hard to envisage him bowling out opponents this summer, even when the pitches are drier and firmer.
Any remaining life in this pitch would be needed to be extracted by Ryan Sidebottom with the new ball when Somerset's innings began. Marcus Trescothick began by taking two fours off his opening over and followed this with a further four, leg glanced, when he made to play a similar shot at the next ball, or at any rate close the face of the bat.
Late movement across him resulted in the loss of his off stump. On the roof of the Old Pavilion, Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire's coach, was thoroughly animated. So was Sidebottom. Whatever ghis form last season might indicate, this remains a wicket that is highly prized.
Chris Jones, who played watchfully off the back foot in compiling a half century off 103 balls and, in making 75, his highest championship score. At the other end, Nick Compton, seeking some decent early season notches in an attempt to regain his England place - no-one can have worked harder towards this end in the winter, chiefly in the indoor school at Lord's with Neil Burns, his mentor - fell back on accumulation.
He did not find the boundary until the 86th ball of his innings, and had made 32 in all when Plunkett bowled him with what looked to be a good, honest straight delivery. Jones went before the close, by when Rashid had had a bowl. Modestly, he said that he feels he needs "another season or two with both bat and ball" of progression in order to come into selection for international cricket once again.