Craig Overton’s late hitting drives Somerset into dominant position

Nottinghamshire 193 and 38 for 1 trail Somerset 454 (Overton 95*, Pretorius 77, Banton 83, Dickson 72) by 223 runs

Craig Overton hit an unbeaten 95 off 111 balls as Somerset tightened their grip on the second day of the Vitality County Championship First Division match with Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

From an overnight 116 for one, the hosts were bowled out for 454, building a first-innings lead of 261 after being 246 for seven. Sean Dickson made 72, Tom Banton 83, Migael Pretorius 77 and nightwatchman Josh Davey 45, while leg-spinner Calvin Harrison claimed four for 93.

By the close, Notts had made 38 for one in their second innings, Ben Slater falling to a brilliant running catch by Dickson at mid-wicket off Davey, and still trailed by 223.

It took Somerset until the final over before lunch to score the 78 runs needed for first innings lead as the Notts seam attack performed well under cloudless skies.

Dickson had added only two to his overnight 70 when attempting to drive a wide delivery from Luke Fletcher. He made good contact, but directed the ball to Jack Haynes, who held an excellent low catch at cover.

Tom Lammonby walked out with 241 runs already to his name in three Championship innings. He and Davey added 41 for the third wicket before he fell leg before to Brett Hutton playing across the line for 17.

Lewis Goldsworthy had made only three when edging a defensive shot off Lyndon James to wicketkeeper Joe Clarke and Hutton was unlucky not to add Banton to the list of batting casualties, going past the outside edge of his bat three times in one over.

But all the while Davey stood firm, looking in little trouble as he progressed to 44 not out at lunch, with eight fours. Banton survived the early scares to be unbeaten on 13, a single off the miserly Fletcher giving Somerset the lead with six first innings wickets in hand. They lunched at 194 for four from 63 overs, Fletcher having taken one for 36 from 17 overs.

Those figures took a hit in the experienced seamer’s first over after lunch as Banton hit him for three fours off as many balls. The England T20 international, who has worked hard to establish himself in red ball cricket, was visibly growing in confidence.

He lost Davey as a partner with the total on 218, bowled between bat and pad by Harrison’s third ball of the day. By then the nightwatchman had faced 104 balls and hit 8 fours.

Notts were fighting back. James Rew, on 13, was beaten for pace by a short ball from James and top-edged a catch to Haynes at square leg. Then Lewis Gregory fell lbw to a quicker ball from Harrison, having contributed only a single.

At 246 for seven, Somerset’s lead was just 53. But that was as good as it got for the visitors as Banton moved to his fifty off 80 balls, with seven fours, while Overton, fresh from a half-century against Surrey at The Oval, looked in prime form from the start of his innings.

Notts took the new ball at 262 for seven. Overton greeted it with successive boundaries off Hutton, a sumptuous straight drive and a flashing cut shot. Banton had blossomed from early insecurity and it was a surprise when he departed, chipping a low catch to mid-on off Paterson, having faced 158 balls and extended his boundary count to 11.
Overton’s 67-ball fifty featured some of the best batting of the day. He was unbeaten on 57 at tea, which was taken with Somerset 347 for eight, leading by 154.

The final session saw Overton and Pretorius turn the screw with a century stand off just 95 balls. They had extended it to 139 when Pretorius, having moved impressively to a 52-ball fifty and hit 2 big sixes off Harrison, was bowled by the occasional off-spin off Matt Montgomery in what proved his only over.

Overton, who had struck nine fours and a six, was denied the chance of his second first class century when last man Shoaib Bashir inexplicably tried to slog Harrison and skied a simple catch. His clearly exasperated partner raced off the field without acknowledging the well-merited applause.