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Division 1, Scarborough, September 05 - 06, 2021, County Championship
134 & 141

Yorkshire won by an innings and 33 runs


Matt Fisher trawls through Somerset once more as Yorkshire harvest two-day rout

Nine-wicket match haul leaves Scarborough faithful with a midweek to kill

David Hopps
David Hopps
Matt Fisher claims the scalp of Karun Nair, England Lions v India A, Worcester, July 17, 2018

Matt Fisher ran through Somerset for the second time to set up a two-day win  •  Getty Images

Yorkshire 308 (Brook 118, Thompson 57, Davey 4-72, de Lange 4-55) beat Somerset 134 (Fisher 5-41) and 141 (Fisher 4-23, Thompson 3-32) by an innings and 33 runs
Yorkshire are top of the Championship, albeit only briefly, Somerset dispensed with in two days at Scarborough. Victory was secured with the penultimate ball of the day with the pavilion clock showing five to seven after Yorkshire had claimed the extra half hour. The final blow was landed by Jordan Thompson, a slower ball which defeated Marchant de Lange's leg-side smite on the full toss and spread-eagled the stumps. De Lange is not a batter who plays for the morning.
It was the Festival Dinner in the Scarborough marquee immediately afterwards and the MC for the evening had been stricken by sciatica and feared that he might have to do his duties sitting down. That at least was an improvement on Somerset, who have spent the entire week in a state of collapse.
To scores of 107 and 181 against Nottinghamshire, can now be added 134 and 141 against Yorkshire, an innings-and-160-run defeat followed by an innings and 33. Title challengers a week ago, the task of their captain, Tom Abell, is now to rally spirits so the canker does not spread to Finals Day in the Vitality Blast. "Our skill levels aren't up to it at the moment," said Abell. "The manner of the defeat is unpleasant. But this is where it's important to stick together."
Yorkshire's stand-out bowler was Matt Fisher, who returned a career-best 9 for 64 in the match, and their slip catching was exemplary: eight caught, none spilled. The premature win might disappoint the Festival crowd with two days of glorious sunshine forecast and no cricket to watch, but they should be placated by further proof that in Harry Brook, Yorkshire possess one of the best young batters in the country. And, if that doesn't do the trick, well, there is always the crazy golf at Peasholm Park.
The game was as good as up for Somerset when they resumed their second innings 174 behind, but with 44 overs to bat on a sunny evening (plus at least eight more in the extra half-hour) but they should have had the wherewithal to take the game into a third day.
Instead, after 10.1 overs, they were 18 for 5. Fisher wreaked havoc in a new-ball burst of 4 for 2 in six overs and, if he swung the ball away appreciably at a little above 80mph (around 130kph), and was again backed by sharp-as-a-tack Yorkshire slip fielding, Somerset were enervated.
Tom Lammonby determinedly rehearsed shots of grim defence at the non-striker's end, but then fell for nought, undone at third slip by David Willey's outswinger. The rest fell to Fisher. Azhar Ali was plucked at second slip in his third over; James Hildreth and George Bartlett, both lbw, bookended his fifth. Abell attempted a streetwise leave-alone and lost his off stump.
It looked as if the match would slide into a third morning when Somerset finally fashioned resistance from their eighth-wicket pair of Jack Leach and Ben Green, but offspinner Dom Bess had Leach caught at slip in the penultimate over and Yorkshire claimed the extra half hour. Thompson yorked Green and then fell de Lange - although not before he had hit Bess out of the ground.
The match won, a man who had climbed out of a first-floor window of a time-worn boarding house behind the arm to sit on a flat roof, picked up his chair and clambered back through the window again, presumably content with the outcome.
At 159 for 5 overnight, Yorkshire's lead was a paltry 24 runs and there was a sepulchral feel to the morning. Somerset's head coach, Jason Kerr, had given it the speech about the big first hour, and that the ball would swing felt inevitable, but the envisaged recovery never materialised - Brook was just too good.
Brook's rich vein of form, across all formats, has come too late for Ashes consideration, but when it comes to Lions squads, or young player of the year awards, he surely has few equals. He appears to be a much calmer player than he was in April, and is all the better for it and has modified his trigger movement which had previously seen him lurch back and across onto off stump. He has said his improvement in white-ball cricket came from studying Joe Root's method, and there is a touch of Root, too, about his tempo in four-day cricket where he seeks positivity without undue risk.
If Brook's first-day 79 from 86 balls had been impressive for its enterprise - a flood of impeccable drives and cuts - his continuation to 118 was just as notable for a different reason. In challenging conditions, he hunkered down and also left the ball impressively on a Scarborough surface with an occasionally steep bounce that many found disconcerting. It was the 13th over of the morning before he reached his century with successive fours against Abell, the first driven through the legs of de Lange at mid off, the second a wide half-volley which he drilled square to the popular banking.
He departed with the second new ball just one ball away, a splendid catch low to his right by Abell when he cut at Green, but even then, with the lead 96, Somerset found nourishment hard to come by. Thompson, too, dubbed The Man Who Makes Things Happen in these parts, made very little happen for much of the morning before he made good his time at the crease by taking toll of the second new ball with some lantern-jawed aggression.
Somerset's batting travails of late have been well documented and there is no doubt that the highly-talented crop of young batters coming out of the Taunton schools do appear to better designed for T20. This might well be the way of the world, although the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, could easily be persuaded to address it with the rigours of Latin and the reapplication of the cane.
But a lack of pace bowling resources is Somerset's most glaring weakness. The loss of Craig Overton to England and Lewis Gregory to injury has exposed their slender resources. Jamie Overton left for Surrey and Jack Brooks' future, at 37, is uncertain. They took the second new ball with Josh Davey, a consistent performer who at that point had 4 for 58 but who had a right to be weary after 23 overs, and Lammonby, who did not find the swing his captain had hoped for and who - like the other options, Abell and Green - is a fourth seamer at best. That is where a reinforcement is sorely needed.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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