Stevens stars with the ball on rain shortened opening day in Taunton

Monday 19th July 2010

Somerset v Kent
LV= County Championship Division One
Day One – 20 July 2010

Kent won the toss and elected to field

Somerset first innings: 122 for 7, 33.4 overs
Suppiah 34, Trescothick 27, Buttler 20
Stevens 4-21, Khan 2-30, Cook 1-38

A stunning display of bowling from Darren Stevens (pictured) obliterated Somerset’s much-vaunted batting line-up on a rain-affected day one of this crucial LV=County Championship division one clash at Taunton. The all-rounder’s four wickets reduced the home side to 122 for seven at stumps as Kent go in search of a valuable win in their bid for top-flight survival.

Amjad Khan also chipped in with two wickets as Somerset slumped from 101 for one to seven down before the heavens opened and no further play was possible from 2.15pm. Close of play was called just after 5pm.

Morning drizzle in the west country meant start was delayed by 15 minutes, and after inserting the home side on a rare Taunton green-top, Kent“s new-ball attack of Khan and Simon Cook struggled to make early inroads despite the gloomy conditions. Somerset openers Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah punished some erratic bowling as they raced to their fifty partnership and the pair looked to be cruising until the introduction of Stevens. The medium-pacer, fresh from working with England Lions bowling coach Kevin Shine in his jaunt away from Kent, struck in his opening over. The dangerous Trescothick was trapped in-front for 27 as the former England opener failed to get forward to a straight one.

The captain’s dismissal didn“t seem to hamper the home side“s progress though as Suppiah and the impressive Jos Buttler took them past the hundred mark without any further setbacks, but then a spell of three wickets in eight balls just before lunch turned the morning session in the visitors favour. Firstly Cook, returning for a second spell, picked up Suppiah for 34 with Joe Denly taking the catch at point and in the very next over Stevens struck twice in three balls. Buttler became his second victim of the morning when he nicked off to stand-in skipper Martin van Jaarsveld at second-slip and then James Hildreth fell for a second-ball duck with Geraint Jones taking a superb low catch behind the stumps. Suddenly Somerset had stumbled to 105 for four at lunch with Kent buoyed by a strong end to the session. Stevens went in at the interval with figures of three for eight off six overs.

After the break, Somerset resumed with Zander de Bruyn and Craig Kieswetter at the crease looking to rebuild the innings but it was Stevens who struck again. This time the slower ball did for Kieswetter on six as the England limited-overs keeper-batsman lobbed a catch up to Malinga Bandara at cover to give the all-rounder his fourth wicket of a golden spell. A short rain delay followed, but the players soon returned to with Somerset reeling on 111 for five.

Former Kent-man Peter Trego then came and went as Amjad Khan got in on the act, collecting his first victim of the day as the all-rounder edged an out-swinger to van Jaarsveld on three. Kent were firmly in control and the Somerset collapse continued when Khan picked up his second wicket, in similar fashion to his first, as another former St Lawrence performer, Ben Phillips, fell for a duck after playing an expansive cut-shot as Jones pouched the catch. At 118 for seven, Somerset had lost six wickets for 17 runs in ten overs.

Alfonso Thomas joined fellow South African de Bruyn in the middle and immediately the duo were provided with some respite from trying to stave off a rampant Kent as rain, again, forced the players off. Frustratingly on this occasion the drizzle was persistent, and as the covers came on Kent, on top, were left kicking their heels in the pavilion as tea was taken with Somerset in a mess at 122 for seven.

The poor weather continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening session and with the menacing clouds above refusing to budge, time was called on a curtailed day where Kent took control.

Somerset: Trescothick (C), Suppiah, Kieswetter (W), de Bruyn, Hildreth, Buttler, Trego, Phillips, Thomas, Kartik, Willoughby

Kent: Denly, Tredwell, Northeast, van Jaarsveld (C), Jones (W), Blake, Stevens, Coles, Bandara, Cook, Khan

Umpires: N L Bainton, M A Gough

Picture: Sarah Ansell