A century from Marcus Trescothick and good innings from debutants Tim Rouse and Dom Bess were the highlights of the final day of the Tourist match between Somerset and Pakistan that ended in a draw at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.
The day resumed with Pakistan on 140 for four off 45 overs, and Azhar Ali went to the 26th First Class century of his career immediately after which Pakistan declared their innings on 236 for four. His century came off 168 balls with 12 fours and two 6s, while Asad Shafiq ended unbeaten on 69, the sixth wicket partnership adding 138 runs in exactly 30 overs.
When Somerset batted for a second time needing an unlikely 468 to win, Trescothick got them off to a great start when he dispatched Mohammad Amir’s first delivery to the cover boundary. The former England man looked very much at ease in the bright sunshine and his opening partner Adam Hose seemed to be relishing the challenge of facing an international attack. However, the introduction of leg spinner Yasir Shah just before lunch was rewarded straight away when he had Hose lbw with his fourth delivery as Somerset went to lunch on 47 for one.
The second wicket pair had taken the total onto 80 when in the 24th over Rouse ducked into a shorter delivery from Mohammad Amir. The game was halted for five minutes during which time the 20 year old was checked over before bravely continuing. Rouse’s mishap seemed to have strengthened his resolve and he started to play a number of attractive shots off both bowlers.
At the opposite end Trescothick showed that he had lost none of his hunger when he took his runs with ease including casually swatting Yasir Shah for six over square leg. He moved into the 90′s with consecutive fours off Sohail Khan to move within touching distance of his 47th century for Somerset. However, with tea approaching Rouse was lbw to Yasir Shah for 41 which made the hosts 145 for two in the 37th over. The second wicket pair added 98 off 26 overs together.
Trescothick and Hildreth then saw Somerset through to tea by which time the opener had moved onto 95, while Hildreth was onto 10 as the score reached 157 for two at the interval.
Trescothick took four off the second ball after the restart bowled by Yasir Shah and off the next took a single to take him to his century which came off 105 balls, with 18 fours and a six. The opener duly acknowledged his 47th century for Somerset which makes him the equal second highest centurion for the county along with Viv Richards.
On 106 however Trescothick was caught by ‘keeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Rahat Ali looking to drive a slightly wider ball which made Somerset 183 for three. Two overs later Rahat Ali struck again when he bowled captain Peter Trego without scoring as he played back making the hosts 191 for four. Alex Barrow looked to have struck Sohail Khan to the cover boundary only to be given out lbw because the ball hit his pads first and Somerset were 203 for five.
Hildreth looked to be heading for half century but on 48 he played a loose shot off Mohammad Amir and was caught by ‘keeper Sarfraz Ahmed with the total on 226. Josh Davey played a couple of attractive shots but on nine he played back to Yasir Shah and was bowled which made Somerset 234 for seven. Dom Bess came into join Leach and the 18 year old played confidently before being trapped lbw playing forward with the total on 251.
Tim Groenewald came to the wicket with 16 balls left and along with Leach remained steadfast to enable Somerset to claim a draw as they ended on 258 for eight, Leach ending unbeaten on six and Groenewald four not out.
Talking about his milestone hundred after the game Trescothick said: “It probably wasn’t one of my better ones and I was really scratching around for the first 37 before lunch, which was a tricky period and I found it very tough. However I managed to dig in and get myself together and get it going. After lunch the brain seemed to get back going. I still feel I was a bit lucky for the first half but the second part was a little bit better.”
Talking about drawing level with Viv Richards number of centuries for Somerset he said: “This is not something that you go out to try and beat but it’s very nice. It’s for your own personal pride and wanting to do well that you do these things and it’s what drives me on. The records that come along are very nice as you tick them off, so its been a nice day for me. This was an opportunity for me to get some more practice in before we play Middlesex on Sunday and I wanted more time out in the middle.”
Talking about the youngsters who played Marcus said: “ I think that it’s really nice that at my stage I can integrate with the youngsters and see how they operate and try to ingrain the culture of the club in them. You can see what good players they are as they come through. Everyone chipped in during the course of this game which has been nice for the four young guys making their debuts and it’s great to see them go on and succeed.”
He added: “I think against the tourists you want to provide them with a challenge and we wanted to put on a performance against Pakistan that would give the guys something to remember and I think that we did this.”