Leach five-for helps Somerset stay up
Warwickshire 180 for 7 (Chopra 54, Leach 5-47) trail Somerset 438 (Ronchi 51) by 258 runs
Jack Leach claimed four wickets for no runs in the space of 13 balls to clinch Division One survival for Somerset on the second day of the LV= Championship match with Warwickshire at Taunton.
It was the left-arm spinner's day. First he contributed 21 not out to a last-wicket stand of 61 with Jamie Overton (40), which clinched a fifth batting bonus point before the hosts were bowled out for 438. Then Leach produced a remarkable pre-tea spell from the River End, which saw Warwickshire crumble from 105 for 1 to 105 for 6, thus giving Somerset the two remaining bonus points they needed to be sure of avoiding relegation.
At tea, Leach had figures of 5 for 10 from 12 overs, having removed openers Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood before dismissing Freddie Coleman, Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke for ducks. When Clarke was judged lbw pushing forward it sparked celebrations among the Somerset players, who mobbed Leach as the spectre of relegation was finally banished.
By the time bad light ended play shortly after 5pm the visitors had moved on to 180 for 7 and required a further 109 to avoid the prospect of being asked to follow on.
The day began badly for Somerset after they resumed their first innings on 360 for 5. James Hildreth fell lbw to Keith Barker without adding to his overnight 118 and three more wickets fell in the space of 16 balls.
Leach and Overton came together with the total on 377 for 9 and 23 still needed for maximum batting points. Both played positively and by the time Overton was lbw to Patel for 40 the score had moved on to 438. Barker finished with four for 95 and Rikki Clarke three for 91.
By lunch Warwickshire had moved to 21 without loss in reply. Chopra and Westwood continued to play comfortably at the start of the afternoon session, although the latter survived two difficult spilled catches before becoming Leach's first victim, bowled driving in the 30th over.
Chopra, who relishes playing at Taunton, moved to an 84-ball half-century, with 9 fours, and when Ian Bell helped bring the hundred up there was no suggestion of the carnage to follow. With the total on 105, Bell fell lbw for 12 to Alfonso Thomas, making his last Somerset appearance. Without any addition to the total, Leach struck four times, as Chopra and Coleman edged to slip, Ambrose was bowled behind his legs and Clarke fell leg-before.
From 114 for 6 at tea, Warwickshire showed more resolution, although Barker was caught behind trying to cut a short ball from Overton with the total on 120. Jeetan Patel and Laurie Evans had added 60 in sensible fashion by stumps