Gale frustrated by bowlers, buoyed by Gillespie
Somerset 309 for 4 (Hildreth 82, Abell 62) trail Yorkshire 438 (Leaning 123, Bresnan 100*) by 129 runs
Andrew Gale's frustration at Yorkshire's failure to make the most of a commanding position was at least tempered by good news. As he emerged from his rubdown, Jason Gillespie was already putting disappointment behind him and looking forward to an evening in the convivial company of friends and colleagues.
Yorkshire's coach does not do downhearted for long and a reminder of that quickly brought a smile to his captain's face. "It's great news for Yorkshire that he's staying because we love him to bits," Gale said. "He's an outstanding coach and England's loss is Yorkshire's gain. I think they've missed a trick there, but time will tell."
Gale admitted that contingency plans were being drawn up in the expectation that Gillespie would be saying his farewells, if not at the end of this match then in the very near future. "I was expecting the worst really," he said. "I was expecting him to go. We had talked about where to go from here, assuming he did go.
"I think we'd have been foolish if we hadn't have done because if he had been appointed, it would have happened quite quickly. We'd have been stupid because, in a week or two weeks' time, we could have been left without a head coach."
Happily for Gale and his team, it will not now be necessary. "I think he spoke to Andrew Strauss this morning and he spoke to us just after the warm-up. It is disappointing for him but he is still young as a coach and still learning."
Having finished on 438 after being asked to bat first - Yorkshire made 450 when put in here last year, so Somerset were forewarned - Gale anticipated a rather different outcome to the day, given the potency of his attack. Yet on this occasion Tim Bresnan - whose unbeaten century built on the momentum created by Jack Leaning and Jonny Bairstow on day one - Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett all drew a blank, although Brooks was denied when Bairstow failed to take a low chance offered by Johann Myburgh when he was on two.
Steve Patterson dismissed Myburgh, having also had Marcus Trescothick caught behind, and Adil Rashid, finding some turn, removed Tom Abell via a slip catch and James Hildreth with a caught and bowled, doing well to hold on to a ball hit straight and true. Otherwise, there were a few too many four-balls for Gale or Gillespie's liking.
Four Somerset batsmen passed 50 although none has gone on to make a substantial score. Hildreth, who went off like a rocket with 50 off 30 balls, seemed well set when he fell. His dismissal was a particular frustration given that he is in almost the ideal place to add his own name to that illustrious group with 1000 first-class runs before the end of May. Hildreth went into this match on 833, knowing that two innings at Taunton, where he has scored so freely through his career, offered an outstanding chance. He is 85 short but still might do it.
Like Hildreth, Bresnan might consider himself a slightly underappreciated cricketer, although in his case, compared with the uncapped Hildreth, not in terms of international recognition. He has been selected by England 142 times across all levels. Yet as a consequence of that, and several periods laid up with injuries, the statistics of his career are not all that remarkable. He has taken five wickets or more in an innings only seven times in 147 first-class matches and his unbeaten 100 is only his fourth century, his first in the Championship since 2007.
In a way he has been the victim of his own versatility, a fate that can undermine allrounders. Bresnan has seldom batted high enough to build a substantial innings and has often been left waiting his turn when the batsmen are at their most vulnerable, against the new ball.
He is 30 now but - who knows? - he may be entering the prime of his career as a Yorkshire player. If he can stay fit and keeps out of the grasp of the man who does get the job Gillespie was denied there might be much more to come.