Cricket: Somerset boost title hopes against Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 07:44 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:44 12 September 2019

Tom Abell in batting action for Somerset

Tom Abell in batting action for Somerset

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Somerset boosted their hopes of winning a first County Championship title with a dominant display on day two against third-placed Yorkshire at Taunton.

Second-placed Somerset went into the game just two points behind Division One leaders Essex, who struggled to bowl out Warwickshire for 517 at Edgbaston on what could prove a pivotal day in the title race.

Yorkshire collapsed from 86-3 to be bowled out for 103, with Ben Coad unable to bat because of illness.

Roelof Van Der Merwe finished with 3-14 and Josh Davey claimed 3-30 for Somerset, who then recovered after slipping to 4-2 in their second innings to reach 269-5 and extend their advantage to 365 on a turning pitch.

It was a wretched day for Yorkshire as opener Will Fraine sustained a knee injury in the warm-up before they lost six wickets in just 43 balls.

Left-arm spinner Van Der Merwe struck three times, while Davey sent back Harry Brook and Tim Bresnan in his first over of the day.

Somerset openers Murali Vijay and Steve Davies fell to poor shots, the Indian debutant trapped lbw trying to sweep a straight delivery from spinner Keshav Maharaj - who was given the new ball - while Davies was caught at cover off Steve Patterson.

At that point, eight wickets had fallen in the first 74 minutes of the day, which included the innings break, and the pitch was coming under increasing scrutiny.

But James Hildreth counter-attacked in style, striking successive fours through the leg side off Patterson, and by lunch he and Abell had taken the total to 49-2.

Hildreth and Abell extended their third-wicket stand to 117 before the former was caught at short-leg by Brook off Maharaj for 58.

Abell went to his second half-century of the match off 101 balls and Tom Banton added a breezy 43 off 48 deliveries before carelessly falling to the final ball before tea.

When Abell followed straight after the interval - lbw to Bresnan for 62 - the lead was 287.

George Bartlett (39 not out) and Lewis Gregory (38 not out) then added 78 in 98 balls before - with the floodlights on - umpires Martin Saggers and Michael Gough took the players off at 4.45pm for bad light.

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