An excellent collective effort from Somerset’s seam attack dismantled Warwickshire’s vaunted batting line-up to leave their side well-placed for their first Specsavers County Championship victory of the season.
In reply to Somerset’s 295, the home side scraped past the follow-on figure before being bowled out for 152.
A lead of 143 was a significant advantage on a pitch which has offered bowlers more assistance than anybody envisaged.
As wickets continued to tumble on day three, Somerset were 178 all out second time round, setting the home side a victory target of 322. Warwickshire reached the close on four without loss from two overs.
Warwickshire, also still pursuing their first win of the season, have a major injury worry with captain Ian Bell heading for a post-play scan on his injured hamstring.
Bell’s team will have to bat extremely well, far better than first time round, in the second innings to salvage this match.
After Warwickshire resumed overnight on 27 for two, the tone of accident-prone batting was set when Jonathan Trott pulled a long hop from Lewis Gregory straight to mid-wicket. In the ensuing clatter, only Varun Chopra (56) and Chris Woakes (22) lasted more than 35 minutes.
Somerset’s five seamers all shared the wickets with most damage done by Jamie Overton (three for 24) and Lewis Gregory (three for 50). The move to keep Overton back until the 34th over worked a treat as he mowed down the lower order with three wickets in 11 balls.
Armed with a meaty lead, Somerset were no doubt not too unhappy to find batting still less than straightforward when they went back in. First innings centurion Tom Abell edged Keith Barker, Woakes removed Marcus Trescothick and James Hildreth with successive balls and Boyd Rankin ousted Chris Rogers and Jim Allenby with lifters and Gregory with a full-length ball on his toe.
However, Peter Trego, scorer of 94 in the first innings, batted assertively again for 51 fom 58 balls and his runs, in this context of this match, appear decisive. After the match he said: “It’s been a pretty good day for us and I think that we have got a pretty good score on the board for them to chase at the end of it considering the characteristics of the wicket.
“Our bowlers did a really good job for us today. They stuck to their guns and were really disciplined to bowl them out. What we did was really fantastic and them to be chasing 320 on a pretty sporty wicket after day two we are pretty happy about.”
Regarding his two innings in the game Pete said: “I have been feeling in very good order with my batting and lots of things are going in the right direction, so it was about seeing it through and getting some scores on the board.
“If I am brutally honest I’m disappointed that I didn’t convert one of them into a hundred, but if we come away with a win then it’s immaterial, but I am pleased with my contribution. To be out there yesterday when young Tom Abell got his hundred was a pretty special moment for me.”
Looking to the morning Pete said: “ I am told there is a little bit of weather about but I’m pretty sure with the way that the wicket is playing that if we replicate the way we bowled in the first innings then we should come out on the right side of the game.”
He added: “However, we cant underestimate them because Warwickshire have got a number of fine batsmen in the line up and we have got to be right on our game.”