Somerset recover from early wobble
Nottinghamshire 26 for 2 v Somerset 272
After their three-day demolition of Kent last week, when their credentials as title candidates appeared to be an impressive endorsement of much pre-season punditry, Nottinghamshire's bright start to the season was checked a little by Somerset, who recovered from 78-5 to total 272 before removing both the home side's openers cheaply.
A rare appearance by Stuart Broad, who was given dispensation by England to make only his fifth Championship appearance in his third season with the county, was of little benefit to Nottinghamshire in the event. Ryan Sidebottom, who had looked in good order against Kent, had nothing to do this time but promote the Little Siddy Club, following the launch earlier this year of the Little Siddy Trust, a fund-raising venture running alongside his benefit programme.
Having been under orders to rest since the end of England's Bangladesh tour, Broad clearly looked in need of some overs ahead of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies. In stark contract to international teammate James Anderson, who bowled impressively for Lancashire at Chelmsford, Broad struggled for rhythm and a consistently testing length, conceding 79 in his 19 overs, of which 52 came in boundaries as Somerset's batsmen took a heavy toll.
The early wicket of Marcus Trescothick might have been a fillip, the former England opener, off-balance as he tried to put away a short ball, turning an attempted pull into a loopy swat to mid-wicket, where Hashim Amla, falling backwards, did well to hold on to the catch.
But it was not until the last of four brief spells, none longer than six overs, that Broad began to look more than an occasional threat. He produced a decent delivery then to have Damien Wright, on the back foot, caught at second slip, before picking up a third wicket when Peter Stiff, swinging the bat, was caught on the third man boundary.
In the morning, after Broad's opening three overs had gone for 18, it was the supporting cast who appeared to be justifying Chris Read's decision to put Somerset in.
Andre Adams, who had bowled well against Kent, struck with his third ball after replacing Broad at the pavilion end, dismissing Arul Suppiah with a delivery that moved away late, Neil Edwards taking the catch at second slip.
Luke Fletcher, powerfully built and deceptively sharp, nipped one through to trap James Hildreth leg before, after which Paul Franks, who had taken over from Adams, dealt a double blow to Trescothick's team by removing Zander de Bruyn, who chased a wide ball to give Edwards a second catch, and then - the real bonus - Craig Kieswetter.
England's Twenty20 wicketkeeper, who made seven and 17 in Somerset's opening-round defeat by Yorkshire, fell for a single this time, caught behind to the third ball after lunch as Franks surprised him with some extra bounce. Five down for 78, Somerset looked in trouble.
That they recovered owed something to Peter Trego's decision to take the bull by the horns and attack the bowling in a style that comes naturally. It might have failed spectacularly but this time it had the desired effect. Reaching 50 off 66 balls with nine fours, he led the way in a sixth-wicket stand of 64 in 19 overs with Nick Compton, which ended when Compton pulled Fletcher to Mark Wagh, who seemed to lose the ball momentarily but recovered to take the catch.
Trego's charge ended when another expansive swing edged the ball through to Read for Franks to claim his third success but by then Somerset were looking somewhat healthier. With Wright and Alfonso Thomas then taking Trego's lead, Wright rocking back to hit Franks clear of the mid-wicket boundary with the shot of the day, they wound up with what might just be a workable first-innings score.
It will be, certainly, if Nottinghamshire do not build themselves a strong foundation on the second morning. Losing Edwards, facing his former teammates, leg before to Charl Willoughby's third delivery, they managed only two scoring strokes in the first 10 overs, suffering another setback when Bilal Shafayat edged Thomas to first slip. Amla, after his debut century last week, needs to produce something special again.