Bowlers spark Somerset resurgence against Middlesex

Somerset's Josh Davey (facing) celebrates taking a wicket against Middlesex

Somerset's Josh Davey (facing) celebrates taking a wicket against Middlesex - Credit: PA

Craig Overton and Josh Davey sparked a dramatic Somerset resurgence on the third day of the LV= County Championship match with Middlesex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

When the home side could add only 90 to their overnight score of 178 for four, Steven Finn finishing with five for 77, they conceded a first-innings lead of 89 runs.

But Overton (five for 34) and Davey (three for 28) skittled Middlesex for just 117 in their second innings, leaving a victory target of 207. By the close, the hosts had posted 104 for four, with skipper Tom Abell unbeaten on 43.

At the start of the day, Somerset were forced to call Jack Brooks into their team as a Covid replacement for Lewis Gregory.

A club statement read: "A member of Lewis Gregory's private bubble was feeling unwell this morning and has taken a lateral flow test. This proved to be negative, but protocol dictates that until the results of a further test have been received, Lewis will remain in isolation."

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Bartlett and Lewis Goldsworthy extended their fifth-wicket stand in Somerset's first innings to 90 before Tom Helm had Goldsworthy caught behind for 39.

Bartlett went to fifty, off 107 balls, with 10 fours, but fell to Helm on 55, nicking a drive to wicketkeeper John Simpson.

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Steve Davies was caught at backward point off Finn, who struck again when Davey clipped a leg-side delivery to fine leg where Helm took the catch.

Steven Finn in bowling action for Middlesex

Steven Finn in bowling action for Middlesex - Credit: Gavin Ellis

Overton played sensibly for his unbeaten 38, receiving good support from Jack Leach in a ninth-wicket stand of 39.
But Finn forced Leach, on 16, to fend a catch to short-leg and Brooks quickly fell to the second new ball, taken by Tim Murtagh.

The afternoon session began with Middlesex 11 without loss and Sam Robson and Max Holden took the score to 44 before a brilliant Tom Banton catch at backward point in Davey's first over saw Robson depart for 18.

Nick Gubbins was dropped by James Hildreth at first slip in the same over but soon it was 48 for two as Holden edged Overton through to Davies.

The Somerset wicketkeeper held another catch when Peter Handscomb feathered an Abell outswinger, and notched his 600th first-class victim when Gubbins chased a wide ball from Davey.

The probing Davey then had Simpson taken at third slip by Abell before Martin Andersson was caught and bowled off a leading edge by Overton.

When Robbie White was pinned lbw on the back foot by Overton, the visitors had lost seven wickets for 38 runs. At tea, they were 85 for seven and led by 174.

Overton struck twice more in the final session for well-deserved match figures of eight for 94 and Somerset looked favourites.

Craig Overton of Somerset appeals for a wicket

Craig Overton of Somerset appeals for a wicket

An absorbing match took another twist when Murtagh had Banton caught behind off the first ball of Somerset's second innings and then trapped Tom Lammonby lbw for nine.

But Abell and Hildreth prospered in the early evening sunshine, Hildreth looking in prime form until falling to Andersson for 43 after a stand of 78, before nightwatchman Leach departed to the final ball of the day leaving Abell 43 not out.

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