Nine-wicket match haul leaves Scarborough faithful with a midweek to kill
Yorkshire 308 (Brook 118, Thompson 57, Davey 4-72, de Lange 4-55) beat Somerset 134 (Fisher 5-41) and 141 (Fisher 4-23, Thompson 3-32) by an innings and 33 runs
It was the Festival Dinner in the Scarborough marquee immediately afterwards and the MC for the evening had been stricken by sciatica and feared that he might have to do his duties sitting down. That at least was an improvement on Somerset, who have spent the entire week in a state of collapse.
The game was as good as up for Somerset when they resumed their second innings 174 behind, but with 44 overs to bat on a sunny evening (plus at least eight more in the extra half-hour) but they should have had the wherewithal to take the game into a third day.
Instead, after 10.1 overs, they were 18 for 5. Fisher wreaked havoc in a new-ball burst of 4 for 2 in six overs and, if he swung the ball away appreciably at a little above 80mph (around 130kph), and was again backed by sharp-as-a-tack Yorkshire slip fielding, Somerset were enervated.
Tom Lammonby determinedly rehearsed shots of grim defence at the non-striker’s end, but then fell for nought, undone at third slip by David Willey’s outswinger. The rest fell to Fisher. Azhar Ali was plucked at second slip in his third over; James Hildreth and George Bartlett, both lbw, bookended his fifth. Abell attempted a streetwise leave-alone and lost his off stump.
At 159 for 5 overnight, Yorkshire’s lead was a paltry 24 runs and there was a sepulchral feel to the morning. Somerset’s head coach, Jason Kerr, had given it the speech about the big first hour, and that the ball would swing felt inevitable, but the envisaged recovery never materialised – Brook was just too good.
Brook’s rich vein of form, across all formats, has come too late for Ashes consideration, but when it comes to Lions squads, or young player of the year awards, he surely has few equals. He appears to be a much calmer player than he was in April, and is all the better for it and has modified his trigger movement which had previously seen him lurch back and across onto off stump. He has said his improvement in white-ball cricket came from studying Joe Root’s method, and there is a touch of Root, too, about his tempo in four-day cricket where he seeks positivity without undue risk.
If Brook’s first-day 79 from 86 balls had been impressive for its enterprise – a flood of impeccable drives and cuts – his continuation to 118 was just as notable for a different reason. In challenging conditions, he hunkered down and also left impressively on a Scarborough surface with an occasionally steep bounce that many found disconcerting. It was the 13th hour of the morning before he reached his century with successive fours against Abell, the first driven through the legs of de Lange at mid off, the second a wide half-volley which he drilled square to the popular banking.
He departed with the second new ball just one ball away, a splendid catch low to his right by Abell when he cut at Green, but even then, with the lead 96, Somerset found nourishment hard to come by. Thompson, too, dubbed The Man Who Makes Things Happen in these parts, made very little happen for much of the morning before he made good his time at the crease by taking toll of the second new ball with some lantern-jawed aggression.
Somerset’s batting travails of late have been well documented and there is no doubt that the highly-talented crop of young batters coming out of the Taunton schools do appear to better designed for T20. This might well be the way of the world, although the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, might be easily persuaded to follow up the rigours of Latin by the reapplication of the cane.
But it might well be that a lack of pace bowling resources is Somerset’s most glaring weakness. The loss of Craig Overton to England and Lewis Gregory to injury has exposed their slender resources. Jamie Overton left for Surrey and Jack Brooks’ future, at 37, is uncertain. They took the second new ball with Josh Davey, a consistent performer who at that point had 4 for 58 but who had a right to be weary after 23 overs, and Lammonby, who did not find the swing his captain had hoped for and who – like the other options, Abell and Green – is a fourth seamer at best. That is where a reinforcement is sorely needed.
David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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