Somerset v Warwickshire: Varun Chopra ton sets tough target
LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton
Close, day three: Warwickshire 367 & 322-7 dec, Somerset 286 & 1-0
Warwickshire 7 pts, Somerset 5 pts
Acting Warwickshire captain Varun Chopra made his first Championship hundred of the summer as they set Somerset a tough target at Taunton.
The opener hit an unbeaten 117 in almost six hours, including a six and 12 fours, and shared a stand of 148 with Rikki Clarke, who made 83.
Tim Ambrose contributed a useful 54, while Lewis Gregory claimed 3-58 and has now taken 43 wickets this season.
Trailing by 403, Somerset blocked out four overs to finish the day on 1-0.
The outcome of the game could be crucial to the title aspirations of both sides, who went into it third and fourth in the table - with Somerset ahead of the visitors - and separated by just four points.
Ian Westwood followed his first-innings century by making only seven before becoming Gregory's first victim of the day, with a diving Marcus Trescothick taking the catch at slip.
William Porterfield and Jonathan Trott followed before lunch, but Chopra, Ambrose and Clarke dominated the afternoon session after Sam Hain was taken low in the slips off Alfonso Thomas, as the home side added 116.
Ambrose was caught at short leg off Johann Myburgh's off-spin, but Clarke struck a six and 11 fours and Chopra, who made a fourth ball duck on the opening day, brought up his century off 329 balls before calling a halt, having been dropped by Thomas at fine leg on 84.
Warwickshire captain Varun Chopra:
"Somerset bowled very well at the start of the day and we had to get through a tough period with as few wickets down as possible. Because we did that we were able to cash in when the bowlers got tired.
"It's a good cricket pitch. There is something for the seamers with the new ball and if you have a good spinner in the side he can come into the game too.
"We have an inexperienced bowling attack in this match, but they did well in the first innings and hopefully we can take 10 wickets."
BBC Radio Bristol's Stephen Lamb:
"A well-paced century from Varun Chopra has left Somerset pursuing an unlikely victory target of 404 tomorrow, on a pitch which should provide some assistance to Warwickshire spinner Jeetan Patel.
"Chopra began slowly in the face of an opening spell of sustained accuracy from new-ball bowlers Alfonso Thomas and Lewis Gregory, and initially wickets fell regularly.
"But Tim Ambrose and then Rikki Clarke batted with aggression to boost Warwickshire towards a late afternoon declaration.
"Chopra batted throughout the innings and ensured that his team go into the final day as favourites."
BBC WM 95.6's Mike Taylor:
"Warwickshire were made to work hard to create their winning chance. As in the first innings, Somerset's best bowling came in the first half of the day, with disciplined lines and lengths building pressure.
"Varun Chopra was on a pair for half an hour, but his concentration never wavered and rewards came in the afternoon. Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke raised the pace expertly to allow the declaration before stumps.
"The pitch has provided excellent cricket with something to interest everyone - ideal for the Championship. Warwickshire are hoping it will now offer more turn for Jeetan Patel on Monday."