Warwickshire 110 for 7 (Banks 26*, Overton 3-25) trail Somerset 209 (Davey 36, Hannon-Dalby 5-18) by 99 runs
Dom Sibley is an imposing figure. Not quite Gregor Clegane, Cersei's bodyguard in Game of Thrones, but you get the general idea. Tim Groenewald did not want to throw him to his doom, just get him out. But when he did, Somerset took a mighty step towards victory.
With 209 to defend, Somerset had little margin for error, even though the ball had swung and seamed all day. Sibley had come into the match with hundreds in six successive first-class matches and was well set, with 26 from 84 balls. To add another he needed somebody else to hang around, but on a day when most batsmen had a short shelf life his presence was ominous.
Four Warwickshire wickets had come easily, but there was a sense of Thou Shalt Not Pass about Sibley that did not auger well. He had been involved in a run out, too, which might have given him extra incentive to succeed, even if Will Rhodes had contributed to his own downfall by changing his mind after pushing the ball to Tom Abell in the gully; Sibley had already picked up momentum and was in no mood for a juddering change of direction.
With 16 overs remaining, Somerset got the wicket they needed. Sibley pushed slightly across a full ball from Tim Groenewald, the sound of the nick rang around the County Ground as if importance of the wicket had somehow amplified it, and Craig Overton plunged low to his left to pull off a fast catch at gully. It was a very good catch on video; an even better catch in the context of the game.
Overton had also played a central role in Warwickshire's decline to 53 for four. He is very much England's forgotten man, the last of his three Tests having come against Australia in Adelaide in December 2017, a series in which he took seven wickets at 42 and generally won a rating of "solid but unspectacular," but he is an important cog in this Somerset side.
He did not swing the ball markedly, but he swung it just enough in 12 overs of sustained menace. Robert Yates, a product of the Warwickshire academy (not the most reliable production line), is a left-handed batsman playing in his second Championship match, and he fell to a wicketkeeper's catch. Sam Hain and Adam Hose, a former Somerset batsman, pushed forward in successive overs to be lbw.
The late additions of Tim Ambrose, who dragged on an extravagant off drive at Lewis Gregory, and Henry Brookes, who fell to first-day turn from Jack Leach and was caught at slip, left Warwickshire 110 for 7 at the close of the first day, still 99 behind. Seventeen wickets in the day then, and Somerset have fallen foul of pitch inspectors before, but they have kept this surface the right side of the line.
This a game between top and bottom - Somerset are already 47 points ahead of Warwickshire, who do have a game in hand - and it is being contested on the sort of surface that should bring about a result in three days, further Somerset's ambitions of a first Championship title and allow them ample time to prepare for the Royal London Cup final against Hampshire at Lord's on Saturday. All they then have to hope for is storms on the Solent and Hampshire arriving a little late and queasy from their sojourn on the Isle of Wight.
Somerset were bowled out for 209 after an uncontested toss, and to get that they needed 47 extras and a top score of 36 for their No 9 Josh Davey, who had a bit of a punt and came off. Brooks is one of the most promising bowlers in the country. The ball that bowled George Bartlett, who was struck in the midriff after he was late on a pull, illustrated that he is picking up speed again after a stress fracture, although 20 no balls made it hard to suggest that he was finding his feet again - certainly not literally.
Instead, Warwickshire's cutting edge was provided by the spindly seamer, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who conjured up the third five-for in first-class cricket, a career in which he has made 59 appearances in 11 seasons, initially with Yorkshire before they released him, and has won most plaudits in limited-overs cricket where he carries hidden perils.
Hannon-Dalby's career-best 5 for 18 will delight all those who value his admirable and easy-going persistence. He began with the wicket of Marcus Trescothick, who edged him to second slip. Trescothick's Championship scores this season (10, 5, 10, 4) sound like the instructions for a dance routine, but they have not quite got his feet moving yet. At 43, he is as old now as his Test average and there are young bucks like Tom Banton awaiting an opportunity. Treasure him while you can.
On an extraordinary morning, in which Somerset reached 143 for 6 in 29 cavalier overs, Hannon-Dalby also had Tom Abell lbw to one that left him late and Lewis Gregory caught at second slip which one that curled away from an early juncture. Two tail-end wickets completed those exemplary figures, his first five-for for nine years, although it will take quite an effort for Warwickshire to turn his grand day into victory.