Somerset v Notts, Div 1, Taunton, 1st day

Patel's swagger suits Notts

Alex Winter at Taunton

May 4, 2014

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Nottinghamshire 382 for 5 (Patel 116*, Read 95*, Gregory 3-65) vs Somerset

Samit Patel struck 12 fours and a six, Nottinghamshire v Lancashire, Trent Bridge, County Championship Division One, 1st day, April, 6, 2014
Samit Patel was in confident mood with a century at Taunton © PA Photos

Somerset have laid their latest plans in their quest to join the leading counties of England with phase four of a ground redevelopment which was approved by their general committee last week. Their renewed ambitions on the field lie in phase one and rely on a talented crop of young players who, it is hoped, will improve the club's position after a 2013 of struggle.

Two of their green bowlers, Lewis Gregory and Jamie Overton, were on display on the opening day against Nottinghamshire but they were part of an attack who failed to seize two moments of opportunity and let the day slip away as Samit Patel made his first century of the season and Chris Read his best score for over a year.

Patel has a swagger about his batting and his greedy seeking of the bowling saw Somerset rightly chirpy with Notts at a precarious 194 for 5. But Patel's flashing stroke-making, chiefly on the drive, including a peach over the bowler's head as Alfonso Thomas took the second new ball, defied any nervousness about the score. Feasting on anything short, of which there was far too much, he went past fifty in 72 balls after tea and only 57 balls later he was arms aloft for his three figures.

"England's not in my mind," he said, a man perhaps spurned once too often to feel confident about a return. "I'll score runs and see where that takes me."

Patel said he was surprised to see Somerset choose to bowl first as they chased leather after tea. Patel was joined for the evening session by his captain and fellow little dasher Chris Read and the pair pulled the day Notts' way with 182 runs in 32 overs. It was immensely entertaining for a good crowd in the Taunton sunshine.

Read was the fourth batsman to pass fifty and the quickest of the quartet in 66 balls, in an innings that would have delighted him after a dreadful 2013 where he best effort was only 58. He has shown glimpses of form in the first three matches but this was the significant score that suggests Read has not slipped into decline at 35.

Somerset appeal for rebuilding funds

  • Somerset are turning to their supporters in a bid to raise funds for the next phase of their ground redevelopment - the rebuilding of the Old Pavilion at the St James Street End.
  • A fund has been set up to help raise part of the £3.85 million cost of the new stand and supporters can become forever inscribed in the new structure for their contributions. A donation of £1000 will also get you an engraved decanter.
  • The project was approved by Somerset's general committee last week and it is hoped that work will begin at the end of the season to be part-opened for 2015 and fully finished for the 2016 season.
  • The St James Street End is the only remaining part of the ground yet to be developed with three previous phases of development completed in turning Taunton into a highly desirable cricket ground and profitable business.
  • The addition of world-class media facilities will ready Taunton for international cricket as Somerset hope to add themselves to the rota of England venues.

He chose a good time to rediscover his touch. When he came in, Somerset's decision to bowl first was threatening reward. Gregory broke the partnership between Phil Jaques and James Taylor and Notts lost 3 for 37 to slip into trouble. But for the second time in the day, Somerset lacked a cutting edge and went on to close the day under pressure.

Somerset had begun well with the new ball. Gregory, 21, was billed as a batsman who bowls from his youth cricket, but has been one of the leading wicket-takers in the early rounds of the Championship. Following eight wickets at Durham and nine at Hove, he took three more here. He showed good control in an eight-over opening spell that cost 23 and the ability to move the ball was best demonstrated when he brought one back into Michael Lumb to take an inside edge which looped up off Lumb's pad to third slip.

It was the second breakthrough of the first 45 minutes after Thomas has wobbled one into the leg stump of Steven Mullaney. But with a chance to repay Marcus Trescothick's faith in his attack by choosing to bowl first, Overton led the way in letting Notts ease into the day.

Blessed with genuine pace, Overton is already being primed for international cricket but here chose the wrong form of aggression in his opening spell. Far too short, he leaked 23 in his opening five overs as Notts escaped to lunch at 101 for 2.

Brought back after the break - and following Gregory's breakthrough when Phil Jaques was caught on the crease and caught at first slip - Overton perked up and hurried Rikki Wessels once too often and he edged behind. He later bowled a mean short spell to Patel and Read - including coming around the wicket - but the short-pitched attack was overdone and became rather narrow-minded bowling against two of the most experienced players in the county game. Read especially sat back and picked him off on the pull stroke.

Overton went at above five an over but Craig Kieswetter was quick to point out that his job is to bowl quickly and try to unsettle batsmen and people need to accept that short bowling and expensive spells may result.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by siltbreeze on (May 5, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

Sunny day at Taunton + confident, ridiculously deep batting line up = bat first! Can't help thinking our refusal to play a proper spinner is influencing the decision to bowl first.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

Not sure if has ever been a good idea to insert at Taunton. Granted we had them not a lot for two and again 200 for 5, but ultimately they scored big and quickly. The same happened against Yorkshire. When we next play at home perhaps it will be third time lucky and we lose the toss and Tes wont have to make the decision!

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