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George Dobell at Edgbaston
May 26, 2014
Warwickshire 78 for 1 trail Somerset 411 (Hildreth 98, Compton 92, Overton 56) by 333 runs
With respect to the Gidmans, the Alis, the Shantrys and the Swanns, probably not since the Hollioakes has a pair of brothers emerged in the county game with the potential to achieve as much as the Overton twins.
On a sluggish pitch, in an anodyne match and with rain blighting progress once more, the pair - Jamie and Craig - produced the brightest cricket of the day to provide a hint of what should be a golden future for club and perhaps country.
The 20-year-olds thrashed 69 for Somerset's tenth-wicket in just 9.3 overs to take their side over 400 and inflict some psychological damage on a Warwickshire attack that had, until that point, gained the upper hand in claiming six wickets for 74 runs on the day.
Their stand was ended only two short of the record 10th-wicket stand by Somerset against Warwickshire. That the record was set back in 1971 in Glastonbury by cult heroes of the club - Kerry O'Keeffe and Hallam Moseley - should assuage any disappointment. It would have been a shame to see either of those fine players, or Glastonbury, eclipsed in the record books. Besides, one suspects that the Overtons will, before too long, find their own places in the record books.
Reputation has it that Jamie is the quicker, if more wayward, bowler and Craig the better batsman. But on the evidence of this performance, Jamie is also a highly promising batsman as he brought up a maiden half-century from only 37 balls with nine fours and a six. At one stage he plundered 18 in five balls from Jeetan Patel, who might well be the best offspinner in the county game at present.
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While Jamie hit the ball hard, it would be wrong to dismiss his contribution as that of a slogger. This was an innings that contained hooks, drives, sweep and cuts and suggested that, in time, both twins may well develop into allrounders. Their partnership was the second highest of the Somerset innings.
But it is as bowlers that the pair will make their name. And, in his first over in the attack, Craig took the important wicket of Varun Chopra with a full delivery that swung just a little, took the inside edge and ballooned off the thigh pad to the slips. Gaining swing and seam movement at a lively pace, Craig was the pick of the bowlers.
Somerset were grateful for the pair's intervention. With both James Hildreth - pushing at one angled across him - and Nick Compton - bottom-edging an attempted pull - falling just short of well-deserved centuries after a fourth-wicket stand of 163, Somerset were in danger of losing their way.
With Boyd Rankin impressing on his first first-class appearance since the Sydney Test more than five months ago, Somerset's middle and lower order were unable to capitalise on the platform provided for them. Craig Kieswetter took more than 80 minutes over his 12, while Pete McKay, deputising for the injured Tim Ambrose, claimed four catches in a highly proficient display of keeping. The best of them was a leg-side diving effort to dismiss Peter Trego off an attempted hook.
Ambrose has sustained a minor calf strain and hopes to return in time for Warwickshire's next Championship game, against Lancashire, on June 8.
While this slow, low surface did little for Rankin, he occasionally generated sharp pace and generally maintained a pretty decent line and length for a man coming back from such a lay-off. In the grand scheme of things, it was satisfying to simply see him playing with a smile on his face after a period when he came so close to walking away from the game.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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