Goodwin triple leads Taunton run-fest
Somerset 126 for 0 (Trescothick 55*, Suppiah 61*) trail Sussex 742 for 5 dec (Nash 157, Goodwin 344, Hopkinson 139) by 161 runs
This was a statistician's delight. So many achievements were notched up that the talk was not so much of records broken but what to do about a Taunton square on which run-scoring has become even easier than in past seasons. That in itself scarcely seemed possible and yet Sussex gained the largest total in their history, 742 for 5, before finally declaring at tea.
Needless to say, wicket-taking was no less taxing a task when Somerset went in - not least because Marcus Trescothick, whom many followers of the game would have liked to have seen batting for England at The Oval, was at the crease. The particularly salient feature of the Sussex first innings was that Murray Goodwin made his highest first-class score, an unbeaten 344, which was the sixth largest innings in the history of the county championship.
Astonishingly, Goodwin scored more runs than he had done in 19 previous first-class innings this season, which had realised just 282 in all. It was his seventh double-century for his adopted county, which illustrates what a performer he has been. Almost overlooked at the end of another one-sided day on this ground was that Carl Hopkinson had made 139, going to both his half century and his century with sixes.
Hopkinson also struck 17 fours, his partnership with Goodwin realising 244 runs in the post-lunch session alone and 363 in all, the highest for the county's fourth wicket. This led to Sussex exceeding their previous record total of 705 for 2 against Surrey at Hastings in 1902, when two of the great names in their history, CB Fry and Ranjitsinhji, made a century and an unbeaten double-century respectively.
Goodwin's 344 came at almost a run a ball - 351 deliveries all told - and included 43 fours and three sixes that were struck in one over off Max Waller, the ball peppering the Colin Atkinson pavilion. When Hopkinson was bowled by Arul Suppiah, Dwayne Smith came in, smote one four and promptly played on in the same over. A few runs later and Sussex left Somerset needing 593 to avoid the follow on.
What joy it is, then, to bat at Taunton. Goodwin was averaging 17 runs per innings before journeying west. The abiding concern for Somerset is that they will not win the first-division championship for so long as this kind of total continues to be piled up, especially now that Andrew Caddick is well past his prime and that Waller and his fellow legspinner, Michael Munday, are at a formative stage of their development. Digging up the square, though, is a project that will take months and years to have an effect.
Little changed when Somerset batted. Nothing was more inevitable than that Trescothick would make a sizeable score while England were struggling against Australia, and so it proved. He and Suppiah put on an unbroken 126. There are those who feel that the England selectors are being inflexible in insisting Trescothick must tour if he is to play Test cricket in the English summer, and if the Ashes disappear out of sight, the more they will be seen to have a point.