When your opening bats are bowling in tandem at lunch on Day 2, you know you have problems and boy, oh boy, do Somerset. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
After having my dentist play with and photograph my teeth (seemed to keep him amused) I get them into the second day of Essex v Somerset – the latter languishing at the lower end of the Division and one of the sides contemplating possible relegation.
Essex had chalked up 281/3 on the first day with Browne reaching a hundred with all the overs completed almost on time. From that alone it’s clear it’s a batting track first and foremost. And with the lack of rain in Essex since, it seems, time began, the pitch looks one for booking in for an Airbnb!.
By lunch Essex had crawled – not dominated – to 364/5. Browne soldering on to 150+. The bowling wasn’t threatening (Overton C making more threatening noises than his bowling) as everyone can see this is a 500 vs 500 match.
Change after change, end switching etc did no good until an inspired (?) piece of captaincy (or desperation – you choose) sees Tom Lammonby running in from the River End.
You will recall, dear reader, that Lammonby has appeared in these ramblings before as one of the biggest fidgeters and twitchers (not to say walkers to square leg) between each ball many of us have ever seen! He makes Steve Smith and Rory Burns look like amateurs – so it will be fun to watch him bat. That’s assuming he – and fellow opener and current bowlers Matt Renshaw (of Aussie Test fame) – are not too tired from all their bowling.
It says a lot that when you need to resort to your opening bats to bowl then you’ve got problems.
Lammonby is one of those bowlers who you think you can score off but he skids it through at a faster pace and with a bit of movement caught Walter and Critchley unawares and back in the hutch. He’s Somerset’s only success – so far.
Essex missed out on batting points as they scored so slowly yesterday and today and seem to have given up all hope of the Championship (as I mentioned last week).
But the afternoon is to come and who knows what the next chapter of the book that it first class cricket will reveal!
An hour into the afternoon and I’m confused (doesn’t take much I hear you say!). I can’t make out either sides game plan. Roly Rossington came and went for a brisk 30-odd and moved the Essex score along nicely; Somerset using both openers as bowlers (again)! Fields are set to save runs (understandably), no effort now to push the score along or are Essex looking to bat only once? In the meantime Somerset are giving Harmer practice against probable English bowlers of Overton and Leach.
The fidget twitcher has taken the one wicket to fall and it’s 422/6 and I’m confused! Browne reaches 200 – he certainly owed Essex runs this season! On he plods, reaching 229no at tea; Harmer having taken an age for 26 before falling to the combination of openers (c Lammonby b Renshaw!) and Essex reach 486/7.
Somerset have no plan, Essex will just grind things out. Another hundred or so by the close or a declaration just before the end seem likely.
Well that 15 minutes was a bit pointless unless the goal was to get Browne to his best first class score. Snater and Beard went quickly leaving Browne undefeated on 234 and Essex declaring at 505/9.
Lammonby was the best of the bowling 3/35 – his career best before today was 1/4 and a total of 6 wickets at an average of close to 70. Perhaps the fidget twitcher sees himself as a budding all rounder?
Somerset have a tricky session – it’s now overcast and with Essex in full flow (let’s see!), they’ll need to preserve wickets.
Somerset set off in a positive frame at close to 5 per over. Lammonby fidgeted and twitched as usual (five movements before each ball) and sped his way through to 17 before Harmer came on and bowled him straight away.
Renshaw and Abell slowed things down as the light faded and light rain swooped in. At the end Somerset reached 99/1 – still some way to go but no collapse.
Whilst Browne dominated the batting day, the shining of the fidget twitcher was something to behold!