County Championship: Somerset build 196-run lead against Hampshire

Roelof van der Merwe
Somerset's Roelof van der Merwe scored his first half-century of the season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, day three
Hampshire 338: Ervine 103, McLaren 61; Leach 6-108, Van der Merwe 3-99
Somerset 534-7: Overton 97*, Van der Merwe 91*, Abell 79; McLaren 2-75
Somerset (8 pts) lead Hampshire (5 pts) by 196 runs

Somerset built a 196-run lead over Hampshire on day three of their County Championship match at Taunton.

Following a two-hour rain delay, Somerset moved from 257-5 to 534-7 on a day interrupted by bad light.

Craig Overton (97 no) and Roelof van der Merwe (91 no) have so far shared an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 164.

Lewis Gregory made 61 and Jim Allenby scored 56, as South African seamer Ryan McLaren and spinner Mason Crane proved Hampshire's only wicket-takers.

Both sides are threatened by relegation to Division Two, with Hampshire really struggling in the relegation places, although victory for fifth-placed Somerset would almost guarantee their safety.

Play did not get under way until after an early lunch following morning rain, but Somerset scored quickly to overtake Hampshire's first innings of 338 all out.

Hampshire's first breakthrough came when McLaren had Allenby caught behind, while Gregory was caught by Sean Ervine off Crane.

But Overton and van der Merwe are now within eight runs of the county eighth-wicket first-class record of 172, jointly held by Viv Richards and Ian Botham, against Leicestershire at Grace Road in 1983, then matched by Adrian Pierson and Steffan Jones against New Zealand at Taunton in 1999.