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Alex Winter at Taunton
May 5, 2014
Somerset 237 for 4 (Trescothick 72, Petersen 62*) trail Nottinghamshire 440 (Patel 132, Read 96, Thomas 5-127, Gregory 4-80) by 203 runs
Has Somerset been more famous than in 1976? That was the question in the long room at Taunton as a cider jar was raised to the memory of Adge Cutler, the former lead singer of The Wurzels who died 40 years ago to the day. Adge never enjoyed the true fame his band achieved two years after his death but he began sleepy Somerset's rise to prominence.
The county's cricketers have certainly had a go. Three years after I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester topped the charts, Brian Rose led Somerset to a one-day double. But could any of Top of the Pops' 15 million viewers name him? It was Adge who set Somerset on the path to penetrating the national consciousness.
Marcus Trescothick also enjoys the label of legend around these parts and he is slipping back into form to silence the whispering of the R question. A miserable 2013 of injury, poor form and some embarrassment for his side has been shrugged off and a century last week at Hove was welcome proof - not that it is necessarily needed - of his credentials as the right man to lead Somerset's rebuilding.
Here he led a smart response to Nottinghamshire's 440 but the reply could have been more intimidating with a number of wickets at poor moments - the opening three wickets all added tallies either side of fifty. Alviro Petersen's classy half-century ensured Somerset did not slip out of the game which was possible at 180 for 4 after James Hildreth tried to flick Andy Carter across the line just after tea and was immediately given out lbw.
Alfonso Thomas also kept Somerset in the contest with a morning spell of 4 for 31. Both overnight batsman failed to go much further. Chris Read edged behind in the third over of the morning four short of what would have been a first Championship century since April 2012. Thomas also got Patel to nibble a catch behind for only 16 more; Peter Siddle skewed a drive to point and Jake Ball was cleaned up swinging wildly. It completed his first five-for of the season.
Somerset failed to grab a third bowling point but could be very content at their comeback from a session of mayhem on the third evening.
Trescothick then put his side in a strong position at 157 for 2. He made a pleasing 72, caressing several cover drives, one off Peter Siddle the best piece of timing in the match. Anything slightly short was cut or pulled or guided in typical fashion. It took a smart piece of bowling to remove him; Siddle drawing him into driving a length he had not done so previously and getting a feather edge behind the stumps.
He should never have got that far. Steven Mullaney put down a sharp chance at second slip when Trescothick had just 6; a lively opening spell from Ajmal Shahzad - playing in place of Harrey Gurney who is away with England - produced a thick edge. After the dropped chance Somerset made swift progress until Siddle removed Trescothick two overs before tea.
Petersen took over and, like Samit Patel, shrugged off the slippery situation to play strokes by reading the ground, not the scoreboard. His first scoring strokes were four, four, six, six; the latter a second maximum off Patel which cleared the Botham stand and scuppered any hope Read had of a few steady overs of spin to plug a gap in their attack after first-change seamer Jake Ball limped off the ground after only two overs.
Petersen added fifty with Craig Kieswetter who will resume with a handy start; he has a chance to impress England selector Mick Newell and timed two nice flicks off his legs before the close.
Nick Compton rather squandered his chance to impress Newell. After surviving a mighty appeal for caught behind when on nought, Siddle appeared to have laid a crate of his beloved bananas on the decision but Neil Bainton was unmoved and Siddle was incensed. But after a calm 25, Compton played a careless cut that produced an edge to Rikki Wessels which gave part-timer Mullaney, who bowled 17 overs in Ball's absence, his 30th first-class wicket.
Siddle's only other wicket was the opening breakthrough, a lovely nip-backer that removed the off stump of Chris Jones who until that point had looked comfortable. Jones, fresh from Durham University, is set for a big season with Arul Suppiah having retired last summer and played handily here without getting a solid score to ease his nerves after three cheap innings.
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