Somerset will have one eye on the weather forecast on Wednesday morning after putting Yorkshire under genuine pressure on day three of their Specsavers County Championship game at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.
Although Adam Lyth continued his cricketing love affair with Taunton, with another century against Somerset, the day belonged to the host county and their bowlers. From a position of relative comfort, at 172 for 2, and despite a resolute batting performance from last wicket pair, Steven Patterson and Jack Brooks, Yorkshire finished the day on 306 for 9, still 256 runs behind Somerset’s first innings total and with another 107 runs required to avoid the follow on.
The morning session certainly belonged to Lyth. Resuming on his overnight score of 80, last summer’s Ashes opening batsman, struck three further boundaries, including a controlled six over third man, to reach three figures off 174 balls.
He lost second wicket partner Will Rhodes for 15, caught by Jamie Overton off Peter Trego at 145 for 2, before finally departing himself for 106 shortly after lunch.
Having played with due care and attention during the morning session, the 28-year-old flashed at a short delivery from Lewis Gregory and offered first slip Jim Allenby a catch he duly accepted. Andrew Gale followed Lyth back to the pavilion at 189 for 4 before the rains came to force an early tea at 213 for 4.
When the players returned, Somerset applied genuine pressure to a side who began the game on top of the Division One table. Having once again reached a position from where defeat was barely a consideration, they lost five wickets for 11 runs in 35 balls.
Jack Leaning edged a Lewis Gregory delivery to wicket keeper Ryan Davis at 226 for 5 before Yorkshire lost their next three wickets with the score stuck on 232. First, Adil Rashid was run out without scoring in attempting a third run to Tom Abell on the boundary. Then Gary Ballance was caught behind by Davis off the bowling of Tom Groenewald for 37. Finally, three balls later, Andy Hodd was bowled by Groenewald to leave Yorkshire 232 for 8 in the 91st over.
Liam Plunkett’s provided temporary resistance before under-edging Groenewald to Davis at 237 for 9. However, any thoughts of a quick fire finish to the innings was put to bed by Patterson and Brooks who added an unbeaten 69 for the 10th wicket.
Following the days play Somerset Assistant Coach Jason Kerr said: “I think it is still a very good wicket, but we had the new ball and created the opportunities with that, and who knows what will happen tomorrow. I think all of the bowlers have been outstanding throughout the two days that we have been fielding and on that surface you need to make the most of the new ball.
“I really think our success this afternoon was down to the new ball and once you lose that hardness it becomes a lot more difficult. It is obviously a very good wicket and advantageous towards the batters but again we have seen that if you utilize the conditions with the new ball you can create opportunities. Obviously we have created more opportunities than wickets we have got.
“Jamie Overton has been outstanding and the spell he bowled yesterday was world class. It was brilliant and he has backed that up today. He had a very productive winter and came into the summer with confidence and that is showing on the field.
“I am really proud of the attack. They were rusty at Durham but from there they have got better and better game by game and if we bowl like we have done so far in this day and a half then it will set us up well for the rest of this season.”
Looking ahead he said: “There will be an opportunity tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will hold for us and if we can get that last wicket and utilize the new ball then you never know.”