County Championship: Surrey boost hopes of first-innings lead against Somerset

County Championship: Surrey boost hopes of first-innings lead against Somerset

Somerset’s James Hildreth fell just short of his 46th first-class century
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground (day two)
Surrey 380: Burns 107, Elgar 103; Gregory 3-52, Leach 3-85
Somerset 243-5: Hildreth 90, Azhar 60, Davies 54*
Somerset (3 pts) trail Surrey (5 pts) by 137 runs
Match scorecard

Surrey removed Somerset’s James Hildreth for 90 late on day two to boost their hopes of a first-innings lead in a close contest at Taunton.

The hosts closed on 243-5 in reply to Surrey’s 380 all out.

Azhar Ali (60) struck a 49-ball fifty in Somerset’s reply but his tame dismissal started a sequence of three quick wickets either side of tea.

Hildreth found a solid partner in Steven Davies (54 not out) but was then caught and bowled by Rikki Clarke.

Somerset still trail by 137 runs but, with the experienced Davies making it safely through to the close alongside Lewis Gregory, the match is delicately poised and the home side will hope to edge closer to Surrey’s first-innings score on day three.

The visitors were 330-6 overnight and Clarke (59 not out) helped them add 50 runs on the second morning, although they may have expected a higher total having been 265-2 at one stage on the first day.

Somerset’s England spinner Jack Leach took three of Surrey’s last four wickets, but they then lost Marcus Trescothick early, the veteran opener edging behind off Conor McKerr for just four.

Pakistan batsman Azhar and Hildreth counter-attacked and scored at more than five runs per over during their second-wicket partnership of 94.

Captain Tom Abell and George Bartlett fell cheaply but, from 141-4, Hildreth and Davies steadied the innings.

Hildreth looked on course for his 46th first-class century until he chipped a return catch back to veteran seamer Clarke off a leading edge.

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