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27th April 2009

Somerset v Durham – Match drawn

After forty minutes of play Marcus Trescothick is caught by Gordon Muchall off the bowling of Graham Onions for 105, leaving Somerset 200-3.  They add 27 runs to the score before Hildreth is bowled by Thorp on 71.

Gordon Muchall swooped in to claim another catch, this time off Mitchell Claydon’s bowling, which meant De Bruyn headed back to the pavilion without reaching double figures.

Langer and Kieswetter reached their half centuries within a couple of balls of each other.  Langer reached his in 106 balls including six four’s while Kieswetter hit a quickfire fifty off just 64 balls, six four’s and one six included.  He brought up the Somerset 400 with a one handed six.

Tea was taken early due to bad light and as soon as the players came down the stairs the rain started and they returned to the dressing room.  Somerset reacheed 448-5 at 5.00pm.

Somerset managed to hold on and secure the draw totalling 485-5 in their second innings.

Graham Onions was awarded the Man of the Match award by Sky.

Rain has decended on Taunton and as we arrive at the ground it’s clear to see that the tail of cockeral is duly facing the pitch (see below if we’ve lost you!).  The covers are on, there is a fair bit of water on them and while there are some puddles forming on the pitch some weather reports say that the weather may well clear by lunchtime. 

We’ve been told that the pitch here dries quite quickly so if the rain does stop we will keep our fingers crossed that play is possible later this afternoon.

The team don’t want to lose any momentum so head over to the indoor school for some practice.  The umpires take a look at the pitch at 10.00am and have a chat with the groundsman.

Play started at 1.45pm with Graham Onions opening the bowling and Stephen Harmison taking the ball at the opposite end.  Somerset reached the 150 mark on the board before more rain forced the players back into the dressing room.  After the showers subsided play resumed at 3.30pm but showers persisted and play was abandoned for the day at 5.10pm with just 24 overs played today.

The Durham squad awoke to sunshine this morning and to the news that seamer Graham Onions had been included in the twelve man England squad for next week’s opening Test against the West Indies.

The lads arrived at the ground  around 9.00am and started their pre match warm up straight away.  After the official England squad announcement at 10.00am Graham was then interviewed live on Sky by Michael Atherton ahead of the start of play.  Graham then had to work his way through a few more media interviews including a live phone inerview with BBC Five Live, chats with the Durham, ECB and Cricinfo websites plus brave the dreaded ladder onto the roof of the press box to do an interview with BBC Radio Newcastle.

Play started on time and Phil Mustard (4) was Somerset’s first victim of the day.  Callum Thorp hit 32 before being caught by Kieswetter off the bowling of Stiff.  Mitchell Claydon is the next man in.  Benks nothced up 150 runs in the 113th over off 254 balls which included 20 four’s.  

Durham were 477-8 at lunch, achieving their highest score to date against Somerset.

Benkenstein went on to score his highest Championship score for Durham (185) before being caught by Suppiah off the bowling of Thhomas.  His previous reocrd was 162.  Durham completed their innings with 543 to defend.  

Graham Onions and Stephen Harmison opened the Durham attack, with Onions bowling Marcus Trescothick in his second over.

Onions went on to claim two more scalps and Harmison picked up one at the other end.  Somerset were 49-4 with 39 overs left to play today.  Then Onions strikes again! Kieswetter out, caught by Thorp.  A couple of balls later Trego is caught by Mustard and Somerset are 49-6.

At tea Somerset are 65-7 after Thorp picked up a wicket in Somerset’s 17th over. Thorp picked up the eighth and ninth wickets giving him figures of 3-5 off 6 overs.

Graham Onions took the last week of the day taking his haul to 6.  Somerset were all out for 69 and will follow on with 24 overs left to play today.  Mitchell Claaydon made the breakthrough in the 12th over of Somerset’s second innings with Suppiah trapped lbw on 12, leaving them 49-0.

At the close of play Somerset were 83-1.

The sun is shining at Taunton today and the team got their first glimpse of the pitch that’ll be used for the match today when they warned up on the outfield.  Somerset won the toss and elected to field first.  Of the thirteen man squad that travelled from Durham Gareth Breese and Ben Harmison miss out.  

Somerset’s team is Trescothick, Suppiah, Langer, Hildreth, de Bruyn, Kieswetter, Trego, Thomas, Banks, Stiff, Willoughby, Edwards.

When Durham visited last season the first day was washed out and when the toss was eventually taken Somerset won and elected to bat first on a slow pitch.  Stephen Harmison took 5-84, with Somerset all out for 224 in their first innings.  Durham then declared on 400-7 with high scores from Michael Di Venuto (135), Shiv Chanderpaul (93) and Dale Benkenstein (62*). 

The sides have met 19 times before with Somerset having won seven and Durham five, the rest have been drawn. 

Sky are busy putting together the final operational bits and pieces for the match, with production meetings taking place and the commentators arriving ahead of the match.  Michael Atherton and Charles Colville have been spotted so far and will be giving their thoughts to the Sky audience.

The new stand at Taunton will be opened at 10.15am and there are rumours that one of the penthouses in the new accommodation block will be bought by John Cleese!

Michael Di Venuto got off the mark with a four and the Durham openers got the better of the Somerset bowling attack, reaching the 50 mark by the 11th over after a boundary from Mark Stoneman.

Diva and Stoneman

Michael Di Venuto reached his half century, which included nine four’s, in the 20th over after facing 65 balls.  He was cuaght by Marcus Trescothick off the bowling of Willoughby on 53, leaving Durham 98-1

Durham were 111 – 1 at lunch.  Will Smith was trapped lbw for 7 a couple of overs into play after the lunch interval and after 35 overs Durham were 119-2.

Mark Stoneman was caught by Kieswetter off the bowling of Stiff on 38.  Gordon Muchall and Dale Benkenstein put on a partnership of 109 and at tea Durham were 228-3. 

In the 65th over Dale Benkenstein reached the half century mark (88 balls, seven four’s) and the next ball saw Gordon Muchall signal his second successive fifty of the season (97 balls, seven four’s).

Muchall reached 68 before losing his wicket on the 78th over with Durham on 285.  Dale Benkenstein went on to hit his first century of the season, which was hit off 153 balls and included 13 four’s.

Durham hit the 350 mark, with a run rate of just under 4, on the 89th over, picking up 4 bonus points.

Ian Blackwell hit a quickfire fifty before becoming Trego’s first victim of the day after he was caught by Hildreth.  Nightwatchman Graham Onions was the bowlers second victim on the last ball of the day.

Durham finished the day’s play on 372-6.  

Sky interviews beckoned for centurion Dale Benkenstein and former Somerset boy Ian Blackwell before they joined the rest of the squad for a kickaround in the evening sun.  Gordon Muchall was the first of the Durham players to brave the ladder up to the radio boxes on the roof of the press area to do an interview down the ISDN line for BBC Radio Newcastle about his two successive fifties. 

Job done for today!

The Durham bus arrived in Taunton at around half three this afternoon, the covers were on the pitch as there had been a fair amount of rain during the day.

The pitch was quite wet so practice was restricted to the indoor school but the sun had started to come out.  The forecast for the next couple of days indicates that play shouldn’t be interrupted too much but it is expected to worsen gradually towards the end of the week. 

Taunton Ground Shot

Apparently, if the tail of the cockerel, which is situated on one of the churches nearby, faces the pitch then rain is on its way so we’ll be keeping an eye on that during the game!

Somerset’s ground is in the midst of some re-development with apartments being built above the newest stands and a new pavilion currently under construction.  While the team practice the support staff do a bit of a recce and establish where they will be based during the game.  The team analyst sets up in the current pavilion in close range of the dressing room so the team can have access to the footage as and when they require it.  Scorer Brian Hunt, who has been awarded a Testimonial this year, will be based with the Somerset scorer and the PA announcer on the opposite side of the ground next to the press box. 

The Sky compound is all set up ready for the match and one of our first tasks when we arrive at the ground on Tuesday morning is to drop the LV County Championship trophy off so they can have it in the studio during the match. 

As the team leave the ground after a couple of hours of training the sun is shining, let’s hope it lasts!