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Abell finds form to lift Somerset hopes

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County Championship round-up: Amir completes Yorkshire demolition (1:21)

Catch up with the latest action from the Specsavers County Championship, as Mohammad Amir's 10 for 72 demolishes Yorkshire (1:21)

Somerset 234 for 8 (Abell 88*, Davies 68* ) v Surrey

Tom Abell led from the front as Somerset reached 234 for 4 before rain washed out the final session on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Surrey at Taunton.

Having walked to the crease with his side in trouble at 46 for 3 after being invited to bat first, the young skipper played immaculately to be unbeaten on 88 at tea.

Steve Davies was 68 not out against his former club, having added 138 for the fifth wicket with Abell. For both players it was a highest Championship score of a previously disappointing season.

Surrey skipper Gareth Batty had exercised his right to field first, influenced no doubt by heavily overcast skies at the start of play.

Marcus Trescothick's first five scoring shots were boundaries as he and Eddie Byrom, making his home debut for Somerset, put together a stand of 43 in 11.2 overs. Stuart Meaker then took a hand, having Trescothick caught at second slip for 26 from an attempted drive, with only his second ball of the morning.

Rikki Clarke quickly built on the breakthrough on his return to Surrey's Championship side by striking twice with successive balls in the 15th over.

Tim Rouse, like Byrom playing his first Championship match at Taunton, fell for a duck, caught behind off a slashing back-foot shot and the vastly more experienced James Hildreth was pinned lbw by the following delivery.

Byrom was unfazed by the wickets falling at the other end and built his innings impressively, leaving the ball well early on and gradually producing a greater number of attacking strokes.

The 20-year-old Zimbabwean left-hander was unbeaten on 38 at lunch, while Abell looked solid from the outset and had progressed to 18. Having added to his score with a swept four off Gareth Batty from the third ball after the interval, Byrom advanced to the next and was bowled.

At 96 for 4, Surrey were well on top. But their seamers were not getting much out of a slow pitch, which had been used for the previous day's NatWest Blast T20 clash between the teams.

Abell and Davies batted with increasing confidence, both in desperate need of some form. Their highest Championship scores of the season going into the game were 71 not out and 59 respectively.

For Abell, in particular, it was a test of nerve. The 23-year-old Somerset captain had been left out of the previous four-day game against Yorkshire at Scarborough, which his team won, after 11 single-figure scores in 14 Championship innings.

You would never have known it, as Abell demonstrated rock solid defence from the start before unleashing a string of attractive shots to reach a half-century off 101 balls, with 9 fours.

It was a landmark warmly applauded by home supporters, many of whom feel the added responsibility of captaincy was thrust upon the Taunton-born player too early in his career.

Davies also had a point to prove against his former colleagues after making just one previous Championship half-century for Somerset in his first season with the club. He played timed the ball sweetly for a fluent 81-ball fifty, with four fours and a six over mid-wicket off Batty.

The rain which began at tea time persisted and umpires Nick Cook and Nigel Cowley abandoned play for the day after a 5.20pm pitch inspection.