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Les Smith at Trent Bridge
June 23, 2014
Somerset 168 and 106 for 3 (Jones 59*) trail Nottinghamshire 461 (Jaques 113, Patel 94, Mullaney 91, Wessels 76, C Overton 4-102) by 187 runs
Samit Patel might be remembered in years to come as a man who could have done it for England, but didn't quite manage it, or wasn't given the opportunity to. He's already a Nottinghamshire stalwart, though, and over the last two days has done as much as anyone to put his side into a winning position against Somerset.
Patel was cursing as he left the field on Monday afternoon after being dismissed for 94, but calm reflection will enable him to evaluate his contribution to his team's effort, not only in this match but throughout the season. He now has 860 Championship runs, comfortably ahead of his nearest rival in a high scoring team. Moreover, he has twice contributed to the dismissal of Somerset's batting talisman Marcus Trescothick, a brilliant catch in the first innings, and a pretty nifty one on the second evening, both at second slip.
Patel's 94 contained 14 fours, mostly square on the off side, and an audacious six into the new stand over extra cover off left arm spinner George Dockrell. He shared a partnership of 161 with Riki Wessels, who made 76, 60 of which required no running between the wickets.
On the first morning warm, humid conditions were present, and a pitch with a bit of green about it. Nottinghamshire's captain Chris Read lost the toss, and won't have been disappointed about that last night. His bowlers made hay while the sun sort of shone. But on the second morning a festival of runs looked likely. The pitch had more brown than green about it, and the sun was out.
Somerset would have been cautiously pleased with their progress in the first hour of the day . They had Phil Jaques brilliantly caught at square cover by Nick Compton after he had added just two to his overnight score of 111, and nightwatchman Ajmal Shahzad's admirable resistance was brought to an end when he was caught off Craig Overton, a big unit, even more so than his twin Jamie, and he earned his wicket for his athletic flogging into an unresponsive pitch. Alex Hales looked the part, but when he was on 41 the twins combined to get rid of him, Jamie the bowler this time and Craig the catcher.
Peter Trego found James Taylor's outside edge, and this brought together the Patel-Wessels partnership which has probably put the game out of Somerset's reach. Notts put their foot on the pedal in the afternoon session and were all out on the stroke of tea. They lost their last four wickets for ten runs while the bat was swung, finishing with a lead of 293.
Marcus Trescothick's first innings tormentor Peter Siddle was soon after him again, and the Somerset captain edged him inadvertently over the slips to get off the mark, but it was Harry Gurney who lifted one at him and induced the edge to Patel at head height. Opener Chris Jones finished not out on 59 but Andre Adams took out Nick Compton's off stump, and the third ball of a new Siddle spell from the Radcliffe Road End saw Alviro Petersen trapped on the crease.
Two days into this match it appears quite likely that we won't be here on day four. It's been a fine all round performance by Nottinghamshire so far but Samit Patel stands out today. Somerset have it all to do tomorrow.
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