Competitive Overton twins put in creditable show
Caught C Overton bowled J Overton. A fielder-bowler combination that is almost certain to appear in many Somerset scorecards of the future. It appeared twice today, in England Under-19's match against Australia in Townsville, where the twins, allrounder Craig and fast bowler Jamie, both tall and strong, performed creditably in defeat.
Craig top scored for England, making 35 in tough conditions, and bowled 8.1 overs for 31 runs without a wicket. Batting at No. 4, he was in as early as the ninth delivery of the morning, after his team had slumped to 8 for 2. Under attack from Australia's three quick bowlers, Craig watched the situation steadily get worse.
"It did a bit early on," he said. "So we had to battle through it and unfortunately today we didn't do it. Not ideal losing the toss, but you're never going to win a game batting like that. A disappointing performance really."
Craig battled 81 deliveries for his runs, playing the quicks with care and attacking when he could. "They bowled really well, made it a struggle for us to score runs. They never let us get away. I just tried to stay there, just to battle through it, bat as long as possible."
His resistance ended in the 27th over, by which time England were 96 for 7. Jamie managed 14 off 15 deliveries and England were eventually bowled out for 143 in the 39th over.
Australia had a short period to bat before the lunch break and during that time Jamie did his thing, bowling at speeds approaching 150kph. With the equally impressive Reece Topley troubling the batsmen from his end, Jamie hustled and harried the Australians with his pace.
"Even with [about] 140 we felt comfortable, we have a really good bowling attack and we felt we could have bowled them out," Jamie said. "We probably would have liked to stay out there [at lunch], the way the situation was."
England had Australia at 54 for 4 but the next breakthrough never came. For his part, Jamie may have got carried away because of the pace and bounce in the pitch. In his first over, he had dug in a bouncer that soared over the keeper's head. Later on, he began to pitch on the shorter side, as England's desperation for wickets grew. He'll be wiser for the experience.
Jamie did find two edges, though, on either side of lunch, and Craig caught both at slip. "I rely on him quite often," said Jamie. "He's been in the slips often and I normally get quite a few edges [while bowling]. He doesn't drop that many and has a good pair of hands."
After the backyard cricket when they were toddlers, where Jamie would bowl "little medium pacers at Craig", the broken windows and the shattered vases, the twins started playing together in teams from the age of eight. They played together in Devon's age-group sides, working their way up towards the Somerset Second XIs. Their progress has not always been simultaneous, but the twin behind never took long to catch up. The competition helped their growth.
"Say I've gone ahead," said Jamie. "He [Craig] has always tried to catch up with me. When he's gone ahead, I've always caught up with him. We've always been really competitive with each other."
"I did," said Craig, when asked who made their first-class debut for Somerset first. "We were told that one of us wasn't going to play. So we just knew that if one didn't play, we'd support him as much as possible. That's what we do, try and get each other going, try and get our performances going."
Craig made his Somerset debut against Lancashire in April this year. Less than a month later, Jamie was alongside him. "It made me want to get it more," said Jamie. "Hopefully we'll get a few more chances together with them [Somerset]."
In the years to come, Craig and Jamie Overton may get chances with England's Emerging Players and Lions. They probably won't get it together, but the twin behind will strive to get there too, with the twin ahead hoping he does.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo