A magnificent fifth wicket stand of 290 between James Hildreth and Craig Kieswetter gave Somerset the upper hand on the first day of their LV= County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Hildreth fell just before the close for 137, leaving his partner undefeated on 151 as the visitors reached 341-5 at stumps.
Earlier Nottinghamshire’s bowlers fully vindicated the decision of Chris Read to insert the opposition after he’d won the toss. At 48-4 Somerset were in total disarray before their fifth wicket pair guided them to a position of dominance by the end of the first day.
“I was happy with the way we bowled for most of the day, although I’m not sure we backed up our three front-line bowlers as well as we should have." Mick Newell
Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell paid credit to Somerset’s centurions.
“I was very impressed with the pair of them.” he said.
“They took their side from a very difficult position to one of some strength by the close.”
Despite the opposition’s imposing total Newell felt that his bowlers had equipped themselves well.
“I was happy with the way we bowled for most of the day, although I’m not sure we backed up our three front-line bowlers as well as we should have,” he said.
“We released the pressure in the 45 minutes before tea. I thought we were a little too soft then and couldn’t get the initiative back in the final session.”
Newell added that he is expecting his batsmen to give a good account of themselves when the opportunity presents itself. “We need quick wickets in the morning and need to keep them under 400 if we can. Then we’ve got to get stuck in with the bat in the first innings and not leave it until the second innings this time.”
Nottinghamshire showed two changes from the starting eleven that faced Lancashire in the last championship match three weeks ago. With David Hussey having returned to Australia, Adam Voges was again reinstated as the one overseas player permitted whilst Stuart Broad’s availability came at the expense of Charlie Shreck. Darren Pattinson, who did not play in the previous four day game, was again rested after his t20 exploits.
Somerset gave a first class debut to Adam Dibble, with Chris Jones also making his full debut having started a match last year but not getting the opportunity to bat or bowl.
Nottinghamshire’s bowlers made an immediate impact with the new ball, reducing the visitors to 8-2 inside four overs.
With the eyes of the watching media upon him, Stuart Broad wasted no time in reaffirming his international quality. With just his seventh delivery he found the outside edge of Arul Suppiah’s bat and Adam Voges dived low to his right at second slip to pouch the catch.
A pitched-up delivery had done the trick and Luke Fletcher followed suit by dismissing Nick Compton in almost identical fashion – this time Voges had to swoop low to his left.
Marcus Trescothick battled his way to 22 but then went the way of many other left-handers, losing his off pole to Andre Adams, who jagged one back from around the wicket.
Jones made 10 before presenting Voges with his third catch of the session and assisting Adams to his 100th first class wicket at Trent Bridge.
Resuming from their lunch-time score of 68-4 James Hildreth and Craig Kieswetter batted freely after the interval, each putting away a succession of boundaries in the early overs.
Notts toiled without success but an inspirational bowling change almost broke the stand. Steven Mullaney, coming on for the 54th over, almost had Keiswetter first ball, the outside edge just falling short of Hales at first slip. The batsman was on 48 at the time and brought up his half century in the next over, following immediately after his partner had reached the same milestone.
The century stand between the pair had taken 29 overs to compile but had been instrumental in altering the shape of the day and by tea the pair had both advanced into the seventies as the score reached 190-4.
Their progression to three figures remained fairly smooth during the final session of the day with Kieswetter just beating his partner to three figures.
Having gone sixty nine overs without a wicket Notts struck in the penultimate over of the day, as Hildreth miscued an attempted pull off Broad, enabling Chris Read to take a fine diving catch running off towards long leg. The batsman departed for 137, leaving Kieswetter unbeaten at the close on 151, just two runs away from a career best.