August 24, 2000

Somerset on course to beat West Indies

Another good session for Somerset has kept them on course to become the first county side to beat the West Indies this summer and to claim the £11,000 prize money on offer from sponsors Vodafone. At tea on the second day the tourists were struggling on 100-5 still 239 runs away from saving the follow-on.

West Indies made a dreadful start in reply to Somerset's all-out first innings score of 488. They had to negotiate just 3 overs before lunch but in that time Adrian Griffith did his 5th Test prospects no good whatsoever. Desperate for runs he fell to Jamie Grove for a duck, glancing one to Rob Turner behind the stumps.

Chris Gayle opened his shoulders first ball after lunch to cream an offside boundary but when he tried it again off Kerr a thickish edge flew to second slip where Keith Parsons took a head-high catch.

With both openers gone inside the opening 6 overs the scene was set for Brian Charles Lara to make his mark. Two casual legside flicks off Grove raced to the boards with ominous portent.

Lara had progressed to 18 by the 13th over when Joe Tucker was brought on for his debut bowl. First delivery was short outside the leg stump and left alone but the next was pulled by Lara to fine leg where Jamie Cox took a well-judged catch. Tucker's second ball in first class cricket had brought him the wicket of one of the world greats. Tucker completed the wicket maiden bowling to Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Sherwin Campbell had originally been due to sit this match out until Jimmy Adams late withdrawal with a finger injury. The tour vice-captain hadn't enjoyed his four sessions in the field, manipulating an ever diminishing bowling attack but he looked in reasonable touch when he took his turn to bat.

Together with Chanderpaul the pair ground out 38 runs ijn 16 overs during a hot, soporiphic afternoon in which the ice-cream queues moved quicker than the scoreboard. The home side's next breakthrough came from Parsons, who can do no wrong in this match. Switched to the Old Pavilion End he gained an lbw verdict against Chanderpaul although the batsman didn't look impressed with Roy Palmer's decision.

Wavell Hinds, who had picked up three wickets in the Somerset innings when necessity rather than choice meant that he had to bowl, came in at six. Another who cannot be sure of a Test spot at the Oval, he needed to make a solid contribution with the bat but was at the non-strikers end as Sherwin Campbell edged to Parsons at slip, off Adrian Pierson's arm-ball. Somerset had claimed wickets in consecutive overs to leave West Indies at 82-5 after 30 overs.

Mahendra Nagamootoo got off the mark by swishing Ian Blackwell for 6 and 4 over and through midwicket - and went to tea on 17 not out with Hinds on 5.