Trescothick makes Warwickshire rue decision

Somerset 226 for 2 (Trescothick 104*, Langer 69) v Warwickshire

Ricky Ponting learned the hard way in 2005; Mike Denness learned the hard way in 1975 and a host of opposing county captains have learned the hard way over the years: if you win the toss at Edgbaston, you bat first. Always.

Most Warwickshire captains know that. The last time one of them (Heath Streak) inserted at Edgbaston - against Hampshire in May 2006 - Warwickshire lost by 193 runs.

Indeed, only once since 1997 - against Leicestershire in August 2003 - have Warwickshire won a championship match after inserting the opposition at Edgbaston. And, though Warwickshire have been inserted twice this year, they have scored more than 400 on both occasions.

But, seduced by a green pitch and overcast conditions, Ian Westwood asked Somerset to bat first. Almost inevitably, a record partnership ensued.

To be fair to Westwood, there was some logic in his decision. Not only was the pitch unusually green, but the ground staff had little time to prepare it following the Test and the almost relentless rain that has affected Birmingham in recent weeks. It may well improve as the game wears on. And, the cynical would suggest, Warwickshire's inexperienced batting line-up might also be supplemented by the return of Jonathan Trott on the third day if England consider him surplus to requirements in Leeds.

Certainly there is a thin look to the Warwickshire batting line-up in this match. None of the top seven have made a championship century since April and one of the opening batsman is a 20-year-old debutant; Nathan Newport, the son of former England and Worcestershire all-rounder Phil Newport.

Besides, with a bit of fortune, Warwickshire might have made inroads with the new ball. But though Arul Suppiah, wafting without foot movement at one well outside off stump, fell early, Somerset's second-wicket pair added 175 in 44 overs. Neil Carter and Chris Woakes did beat the bat occasionally, but the rest of the attack failed to maintain a consistent enough line or length to utilise the conditions.

But the biggest reason for Warwickshire's lack of success was simple: Marcus Trescothick. The Somerset opener, with a bat as broad as a barn door, continued his excellent form in posting his fifth championship century of the season. He's been out in the 90s four times, too.

Increasingly there is something of Graham Gooch about Trescothick. And there's no higher praise than that. It's not just the upright stance or little bend of the knees as the bowler approaches. Or the thumping drives and murderous pulls which typified this innings. It's the stature and reputation in the game. Trescothick is a giant at this level and there was a sense of inevitability about this century.

Warwickshire, at least initially, made him work hard for his runs. Woakes was immaculate in his first spell, with four of his first five overs maidens, while Carter was always dangerous.

But Tresocthick was patient. Having seen off the new ball and gone 12 overs without a boundary, he then took three in an over off Woakes and never looked back. His century - the 36th of his first-class career - took 177 balls and contained 16 crisp fours and a six.

Justin Langer, with 69 from 112 balls, lent support. Though never as dominant as his partner, he lent into some beautiful dives when Naqaash Tahir over-pitched and cut and pulled with power when Boyd Rankin or Carter dropped short.

Trescothick did enjoy a couple of moments of fortune. Most pertinently he was badly missed on 87 when Tony Frost, at slip, put down a relatively simple chance off the anguished Carter. To compound the error, Frost's attempt at a run-out saw the ball disappear for four over throws. Carter, it is fair to say, was deeply unimpressed. His mood was hardly improved when Trescothick pulled him for six to secure his century shortly afterwards.

The overthrows also secured a new record for Somerset. Langer and Trescothick had surpassed the previous Somerset second-wicket stand against Warwickshire: 172 posted by Peter Roebuck (102) and Nigel Popplewell (90) here in 1984.

Langer eventually fell, edging a drive at one angled across him, but Hildreth looked in fine touch before the last of four interruptions ended play 42 overs early.

Somerset 3rd innings Partnerships

1st23ME TrescothickAV Suppiah
2nd30ME TrescothickJC Hildreth
3rd72ME TrescothickZ de Bruyn
4th25ME TrescothickC Kieswetter
5th6ME TrescothickPD Trego