County Championship: Somerset on course to beat Warwickshire at Taunton

Somerset celebrate a wicket
George Bartlett's run out of Tim Ambrose left Somerset four wickets away from beating Warwickshire
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground (day two):
Somerset 209: Hannon-Dalby 5-18 & 164: Overton 36*; Norwell 7-41
Warwickshire 135: Overton 5-31 & 103-6: Hain 43*; Gregory 2-26
Warwickshire (3 pts) require 136 more runs to beat Somerset (4 pts)

Somerset are favourites to complete victory in a low-scoring Division One contest with Warwickshire after a second wicket-filled day at Taunton.

Warwickshire closed on 103-6, needing 136 more runs to win.

Earlier, Craig Overton (5-31) helped the hosts earn a first-innings lead of 74, with the Bears all out for 135.

Liam Norwell (7-41) ripped through Somerset's top order, but late runs from Overton (36 not out) got them to 164, leaving Warwickshire 239 to win.

Sam Hain will resume unbeaten on 43, but Tim Ambrose's run out in the closing overs - inflicted by a superb direct hit from George Bartlett at point - tipped the balance firmly in Somerset's favour.

Seventeen wickets had fallen on day one and that pattern continued on a bowler-friendly surface, with 19 more falling under sunny skies on day two.

Early Division One leaders Somerset needed only 30 minutes on the second morning to take Warwickshire's three remaining first-innings wickets, with Overton claiming the two he needed for a five-wicket haul.

Liam Norwell
Liam Norwell ended with match figures of 9-92 on his Warwickshire debut

The hosts then set about extending their advantage but Norwell, making his Championship debut for the Bears after joining from Gloucestershire, was in inspired form with the new ball.

Azhar Ali and James Hildreth both fell without scoring, while wicketkeeper Ambrose took a stunning catch diving to his left to dismiss Bartlett off the bowling of Henry Brookes before lunch.

Lewis Gregory was bowled by Norwell with the first ball after the interval, becoming the seamer's fifth scalp of the second innings, which he wrapped up when last man Jack Leach nicked a rising ball behind to Ambrose.

The Bears' run chase began badly, with Will Rhodes and Rob Yates both edging Gregory behind in the 6.2 overs bowled before tea and spinner Leach then preventing Dom Sibley (24) from registering a century in a seventh consecutive first-class match.

Somerset and England spinner Jack Leach:

"We would have settled for this position at the start of the day. The game has moved along so quickly and we will back ourselves to finish the job.

"We had to keep fighting to put a decent score on the board and then we showed good patience in putting the ball in the right area. You need to build pressure by bowling maidens between the wicket-taking balls.

"George Bartlett's brilliant run-out of Tim Ambrose was a big moment in the game. Fielding is another thing we pride ourselves on."

Bears seamer Liam Norwell told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"I was disappointed with the way I bowled on the first day and how I got out, so I was fired up to put in a good performance.

"You always want to do well on your debut for a new club. Warwickshire have been great to me and after the early-season injury I really wanted to contribute something.

"The game is definitely still winnable for us. We have one of the best young batsman in the country out there in Sam Hain and some good players in Henry Brookes and Jeetan Patel to follow. It's a bit easier to bat when the ball goes softer and hopefully that will be to our advantage."

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