County Championship: Jack Leach stars for Somerset but Warwickshire fight on

Keith Barker caught at slip by Marcus Trescothick
Marcus Trescothick caught Keith Barker at slip to equal the Somerset outfielders' catching record of 393, set 79 years ago by ex-England all-rounder Jack White
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Taunton, day two
Somerset 95 & 211: Rogers 58, Trego 31; Patel 5-86
Warwickshire 123 & 131-8: Clarke 42*, Wright 38*; Leach 5-33
Warwickshire (3 pts) need a further 53 runs to beat Somerset (3 pts)

Somerset's County Championship game with Warwickshire hangs in the balance at Taunton after another remarkable twist in an already dramatic game.

After bowling out Somerset for 211, the Bears looked set for a two-day defeat on 61-8, chasing 184 to win, with spinner Jack Leach taking 5-33.

But ninth-wicket pair Rikki Clarke (42 not out) and Chris Wright (38 not out) then more than doubled the score.

Putting on 70 so far, the highest stand of the match, they closed on 131-8.

Having survived the extra half hour with growing confidence, it leaves the Bears needing 53 more runs to win on day three, although Somerset will start favourites to take the two wickets they need.

The stumping of Warwickshire's former England batsman Jonathan Trott by Somerset wicketkeeper Ryan Davies off Jack Leach looked like it might prove the beginning of the end for the Bears
The stumping of Warwickshire's former England batsman Jonathan Trott by Somerset wicketkeeper Ryan Davies off Jack Leach looked like it might prove the beginning of the end for the Bears

In a match of twists, turns and fine individual performances on a wearing, used pitch, Leach's 'five-for' was not the only one of the day.

Bears spinner Jeetan Patel, the Championship's leading wicket-taker, had earlier claimed the 24th five-wicket haul of his long career, taking 5-86 to boost his tally to 64 for the season.

First-innings hero Dom Bess also weighed in with two more scalps for figures of 8-59 so far on his Championship debut.

And 40-year-old former England opener Marcus Trescothick got in on the act, taking three more catches.

His six in the match is just one short of Chris Tavare's 27-year-old Somerset outfielders' record, but he did equal the county's career record total of 393, set 79 years ago by former England all-rounder Jack White.

But a game in which Somerset were bowled out for just 95 on the first morning might already be over if home skipper Chris Rogers had not been crucially missed at long leg on six on day one.

The former Australia Test opener went on to post the game's only half-century, making what could yet prove a match-winning 58 as he shared in stands of 39 with Trescothick and 55 with Peter Trego.

ECB Cricket Liaison Officer Phil Whitticase was sent to view the second day's play, but it was batting errors, rather than the pitch misbehaving, which accounted for the majority of wickets.

Somerset spinner Jack Leach told BBC Radio Somerset:

"It was a great day for me because first I went past 50 first-class wickets for the season, then 50 Championship wickets, before ending up with a five-for.

"It has been a crazy two days of cricket and Rikki Clarke and Chris Wright have batted really well to set up the prospect of an exciting finish.

"We still feel in a good position because they have to play themselves in again tomorrow and the ball has tended to do more for the bowlers in the morning sessions."

Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown told BBC WM:

"Rikki Clarke and Chris Wright have shown what is possible on this pitch if batsmen are prepared to apply themselves.

"Again there were too many soft dismissals in our innings and we still have a lot of work to do. But we are in with a chance and it will be a big day for us.

"The wicket has been tricky to bat on but by no means unplayable. If we can add a further 20 or 30 without losing a wicket it could put the Somerset bowlers under pressure."

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