Somerset v Sussex, County Championship, 3rd day August 21, 2009

Rain halts torrent of runs

The Bulletin by Jeremy James at Taunton

Somerset 164 for 0 (Trescothick 71*, Suppiah 80*) trail Sussex 742 for 5 dec by 587 runs

Only 18.4 overs were possible on the third day of a match in which 906 runs have now been scored for the loss of just five wickets and which, unless Somerset collapse dramatically on the final morning, will be lodged by the scorers as yet another high-scoring draw at Taunton. There was time enough for Marcus Trescothick, the leading run-scorer in the land, to add 38 with Arul Suppiah, who for once has out-scored him.

Trescothick, who has made 71, has now scored 1401 runs this season, overtaking his best tally in a county championship year, 1343 in 2007. He has no regrets about not returning to Test cricket this week: touring with England will never be a part of his life again, although he is still intent on taking part in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in India in October. Richard Gould, the Somerset chief executive, is looking at flying him in for matches as opposed to commuting daily from the Middle East.

No-one who watched Trescothick resume his innings after heavy overnight rain could conceivably imagine there was anything awry with his technique, desire to pile up the runs at county level and intention on prolonging his career until he reaches middle age. In such play as there was, he glanced and drove with customary élan while Suppiah, who possesses no little elegance at the crease, progressed to 80. Somerset, though, are 578 runs in arrears.

The issue of heavy run-scoring on this square will be addressed by Somerset this winter. The head groundsman, the long-serving Phil Frost, is planning to top dress and re-seed the pitches with a mix of loans as opposed to the Ongar loan that is used at present. The drawback the club has in terms of digging up a pitch is that it cannot then be used for two years.

"This is an issue for the ECB and above, not just for us," said Gould. "It is an issue that needs addressing as Test match crowds are dwindling and we need to re-define what constitutes a good pitch." He himself will be going to Harvard Business School in Boston for two months in the autumn to undertake its Advanced Management Programme at the suggestion of his chairman, Andy Nash. It is all a far cry from the days when Brigadier E.H. Lancaster and Air Vice-Marshall M.L. Taylor ran Somerset in their less-than-glory days before and after the Second World War.

As for Sussex, whose batsmen gorged themselves on Thursday, Mark Robinson, their cricket manager who takes a Yorkshireman's pragmatic view of cricketing matters, was less than impressed at the time it took the four-man Taunton groundstaff to bring on the tarpaulin covering when a heavy downpour occurred in mid-afternoon. In fairness to Frost, he had a fair number of old pitches to protect - pitches which, within five minutes were sodden to the point at which it was evident there would be no further play. His players will do well to achieve anything other than the odd bonus point before stumps are finally drawn.