Somerset In Charge After Day Three

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Northants go into the final day, with an uphill battle, needing another 296 runs for victory with five innings wickets in hand.

The morning session belonged to the visitors who cruised along without feeling the need to press the accelerator. James Hildreth and Chris Jones coasted along at three an over and weren’t in any trouble at all and it came as a surprise when, shortly before the lunch break, Hildreth, presented James Middlebrook with a return catch.

Despite that, Somerset led by 318 and they moved this along at a similar rate in the afternoon as they approached their intended target.

Northants gained some reward for their stint as they picked up wickets at a consistent rate with Muhammad Azhar Ullah dismissing Peter Trego and Craig Overton in quick succession and Middlebrook seeing off Jones 13 shy of what would’ve been a maiden LV= County Championship century when he played across the line.

The off-spinner took his third wicket when Alfonso Thomas lofted to square-leg and that left Lewis Gregory and George Dockrell to push the lead beyond the 400 mark before the declaration arrived.

That left Northants needing to score 404 - more than they’ve made at any stage this season - in a minimum of 135 overs, or four sessions if you like, and they made a solid enough start.

Middlebrook, in partnership with James Kettleborough had taken the score to 40 when Gregory, in identical fashion to the first innings, had the former caught at the wicket.

Richard Levi departed in the same way to the next ball and although Rob Newton survived the hat-trick ball, he didn’t last too long as he dragged on attempting to cut Alfonso Thomas.

Matthew Spriegel failed to open his account before a back foot force off Thomas ended in Hildreth’s hands at first slip but there was some good news as Kettleborough reached his half century with his 11th boundary.

Kettleborough was dropped by Hildreth off Thomas a couple of overs later and only added a single before he became George Dockrell’s first wicket of the game when he was taken at short-leg.

That forced Northants to send in Olly Stone as night watchman and he, along with Kyle Coetzer, managed to prevent any further mishaps before the end of the day.

Somerset In Charge After Day Three www.northantscricket.com