Nottinghamshire enjoyed the better of things as Somerset reached 188 for nine on a rain-shortened third day of the LV= county championship match at Taunton.
In between the showers, the home side had been in some considerable strife at 81 for six before Craig Meschede revived spirits with a score of 59.
With only one day remaining Somerset still trail by 190 runs but need a further 41 to avoid the follow-on.
"With the overhead conditions being very different to those of the first two days it was very helpful out there for the bowlers." Mick Newell
Mick Newell admitted he was surprised at how much cricket was actually played. “The forecast wasn’t particularly good and at various times in the day when we came off we thought that was perhaps it, so we’ve got to be very pleased with how much cricket we actually got in and how many wickets we took.
“The ball seemed to swing and nip around in that first little session,” he added “With the overhead conditions being very different to those of the first two days it was very helpful out there for the bowlers and Fletch was swinging it quite nicely.”
With only one day left Newell accepts a win will be difficult to achieve. “Looking at the forecast for the final day we’re going to struggle to get much cricket in, it seems. But we’ve secured our bonus points and will hope now to make them follow-on, put them under pressure and see what happens.”
Despite light drizzle falling all around the County Ground, play started on time with Andre Adams bowling to Nick Compton.
The first ball of the day was clipped through midwicket for three but that was as good as it got in the early exchanges for the home side. As on the previous day, the opening over produced a wicket with Adams then nipping one back to bowl Chris Jones (37), for no addition to his overnight score.
Luke Fletcher shared the bowling duties and he and Adams kept things nice and tight for the next couple of overs before Notts struck again.
Compton (34) seemed to check his drive against Fletcher and picked out Steven Mullaney at cover. Before Craig Kieswetter could reach the middle to join James Hildreth (2 not out), rain swept across the ground to send the players hurrying back to the pavilion for the first time.
After a fifteen minute stoppage, play resumed – and Andre Adams soon struck again. A short-pitched delivery found out Hildreth (2), whose attempted pull was top-edged to Fletcher at fine leg.
Three wickets had fallen for only 2 runs. Kieswetter (1 not out) and Jos Buttler (5 not out) eased it up to 81 for four before the rains returned once more.
It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that, under slate-grey skies, play resumed and Notts were again straight amongst the wickets as Fletcher claimed two in two, with both Kieswetter (1) and Trego (first ball) caught behind by Chris Read.
Fletcher’s figures at that stage were 12-8-7-3 for the innings and 6-5-1-3 for the day with Somerset having lost 5 wickets for eight runs.
Jos Buttler and Meschede steadied the ship with an opportunistic stand of 41 – rotating the strike, as well as taking advantage of the attacking fields to exploit the gaps.
Fletcher’s deserved rest brought Samit Patel into the attack and his England colleague Buttler (23) couldn’t resist taking him on but failed to clear Ajmal Shahzad at mid on.
Meschede’s attacking policy helped him lift Patel over the ropes twice, on his way to fifty (65 balls, 6x4, 2x6) but after another stoppage he chopped on to his stumps to give Harry Gurney his second wicket of the innings.
In fading light George Dockrell (23) fell to a bat pad catch by James Taylor off Patel, leaving Steve Kirby (6 not out) and Jamie Overton (0 not out) together when bad light brought an early closure with three overs left outstanding.