County Championship: Somerset debutant Dom Bess stars as Taunton wickets tumble

Somerset spinner Dom Bess
Somerset debutant spinner Dom Bess was responsible for seven of the Warwickshire wickets to fall
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Taunton, day one
Somerset 95: Barker 4-33, Clarke 3-32 & 41-1
Warwickshire 123: Westwood 34; Bess 6-28
Somerset (3 pts) lead Warwickshire (3 pts) by 13 runs with nine 2nd-innings wickets left
Scorecard

Somerset's teenage off-spinner Dom Bess marked his debut with 6-28 as 21 wickets fell on a remarkable first day against Warwickshire at Taunton.

Keith Barker (4-33), Rikki Clarke (3-32) and Chris Wright (2-28) exploited the swinging conditions to bowl out Somerset before lunch for 95, spinner Jeetan Patel taking the last wicket.

But the Bears were bowled out cheaply themselves for 123 - a lead of just 28.

Somerset then lost a wicket, Tom Abell for a second time, to close on 41-1.

Abell had been Somerset's first-innings top scorer with 20, caught behind off Wright, before being out for the second time in the day late on when he was trapped leg before in Bears leg-spinner Josh Poysden's second over.

But Poysden missed a chance to make further inroads when he then spilled Somerset skipper Chris Rogers at long leg off Barker.

Keith Barker was Warwickshire's chief wicket taker with four, including Somerset skipper Chris Rogers
Keith Barker was chief Warwickshire wicket taker with four, including home skipper Chris Rogers

On a used pitch with bare patches at both ends to entice the spinners, Somerset selected three. And 19-year-old off-spinner Bess proved the star, also taking three catches, two off his own bowling and the other a stunning one-hander to his left at mid-wicket to dismiss Alex Mellor.

It was mostly swing that proved the key before lunch although, having claimed the extra half hour to extend the morning session, it took just one ball of spin from Jeetan Patel for Warwickshire to end the innings.

When the Bears replied, in-form opener Ian Westwood proved the day's highest scorer with 34. But, from 62-1, the visitors slumped alarmingly once Bess claimed the wickets of Jonathan Trott and his old England team-mate Ian Bell with successive deliveries.

Although Sam Hain saw off the hat-trick ball, they lost their last nine wickets for 61 as the lower order's attempt to hit their way out of trouble failed to pay off.

Batting suddenly proved a lot easier in the day's final 13 overs as ex-England opener Marcus Trescothick reached the close on a far more assured 19.

Old heads on young spinners' shoulders

Bess's performance for Somerset was the second time this season that a teenage spinner has upset the Bears.

Matt Parkinson, also 19, took 5-49 for Lancashire with his leg-spin at Old Trafford in June.

Nottinghamshire off-spinner Matthew Carter took 7-56 on his first-class debut against Somerset last summer, also at Taunton, at the age of 19, the best figures by a debutant spinner since 1938.

Bess made his first-class debut against Pakistan in early July when he took 0-128 from 30 overs.

Bringing back memories of Stuart Broad

Somerset's collapse was the first instance of a side being bowled out before lunch in English cricket since Stuart Broad took 8-15 as Australia were bowled out for 60 in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge in August 2015.

Warwickshire had to claim the the extra half hour to get the job done too, with the first ball of the 31st over.

By comparison, on that day at Trent Bridge, Australia lasted just 18.3 overs. Somerset skipper Chris Rogers was in the Australia side and went for a third-ball duck.

The other common denominator was Warwickshire captain Ian Bell, who was also on the pitch on both occasions, each time taking a slip catch to dismiss the number four, Shaun Marsh and Jimmy Hildreth respectively.

'I had to pinch myself'

Somerset debutant Dom Bess told BBC Radio Somerset:

"I had to pinch myself when I got Jonathan Trott out and then saw Ian Bell walking in. These are guys I was watching on TV not so long ago.

"When Bell hit the next ball back at me I was just thinking 'don't drop it, don't drop it' as it came towards me. It has been a surreal day in many ways and one I won't forget.

"We were aiming to bat big at the start, so 95 all out was certainly not what was required. But the way we have fought back as a team is encouraging and the match could still go either way."

Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown told BBC WM:

"The pitch assisted all types of bowling. The colour of it put doubt in the batsmen's minds and led to some poor shots. There were some pretty soft dismissals.

"We would certainly have batted first had we won what we thought was an important toss but, as it turned out, conditions suited our seamers and they took full advantage. We bowled really well and took our chances.

"The same then applied to Somerset. The game is evenly balanced. It remains to be seen how the pitch changes. I wouldn't expect it to improve, but I would expect us to bat better on it in the second innings."

Top Stories