County Championship: Somerset win despite Nottinghamshire fightback
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (day three):|
|Somerset 326 & 169: Azhar 65*; Ashwin 5-59, Patterson-White 5-73|
|Nottinghamshire 241 & 122: Ashwin 41; J Overton 4-24, Leach 4-42|
|Somerset (22 pts) beat Nottinghamshire (4 pts) by 132 runs|
Somerset reclaimed top spot in Division One with a 132-run victory over Nottinghamshire after being bowled out for just 169 on day three at Taunton.
Ravichandran Ashwin (5-59) and debutant Liam Patterson-White (5-73) ran through the home side's batting line-up.
It left Notts needing 255 for victory, but they in turn struggled against the Somerset spinners.
England's Jack Leach took 4-42 and paceman Jamie Overton claimed 4-24 as Notts were all out for 122 in 43 overs.
The victory enabled Somerset to leapfrog Essex, who had earlier climbed to the top with an eight-wicket win over Yorkshire, and lead by 15 points with five games to play.
Two pieces of brilliant fielding were among the highlights of the day, the first of them right at the start when Somerset skipper Tom Abell clipped away an Ashwin full toss and Ben Slater somehow held onto the catch at short leg.
Abell's dismissal for 24 began the home side's decline and, but for a stand of 51 between Azhar and Jamie Overton (24), they might have struggled to set a target beyond 200.
Notts immediately lost Jake Libby for a duck at the start of their second innings and Tom Banton then pulled off the second amazing short-leg catch of the day, parrying the ball with his right hand and grabbing it with his left to send back Slater.
Both openers fell to Leach, and although Ashwin resisted for the visitors to make 41, Samit Patel managed only one after being called into the game as a concussion replacement for Chris Nash.
And it was Overton, the bowler who struck Nash on the helmet on the second day, who finished Notts off by bowling Patterson-White and Jake Ball in successive overs.
Somerset head coach Jason Kerr:
"It was probably our most complete performance of the season. When we are under pressure this season we find ways of wrestling back the initiative.
"The first innings partnership between Dom Bess and Steven Davies really set things up for us and Azhar Ali has played a really important innings against one of the best spinners in the world in Ravi Ashwin on a turning pitch.
"Jamie Overton is bowling beautifully at the moment and was really hostile at the end. With our two spinners both contributing as we had hoped, it was a really good team performance and I'm delighted for the lads.
"Next we face Yorkshire at Headingley and we won't be looking any further ahead than that. There is terrific confidence about the squad, but it's important we keep taking things one stage at a time."
Notts head coach Peter Moores told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"Absolutely no complaints. It was an exciting cricket pitch to play on and we lost, not because of any lack of effort or work-rate, but because we were facing a really good team.
"We got into some decent positions but each time, to their credit, Somerset came back hard at us. They have been playing good cricket all season and were relentless in how they went about their business.
"We are looking at a growing injury list. Chris Nash won't play in the next game under the rules governing concussion, Ben Duckett has tweaked a hip flexor and Joe Clarke has done a hamstring, but that is part of pro sport and we won't moan about it.
"It hurt us a bit in the first innings being a bowler down, with Liam Patterson-White's tonsillitis, but I would rather give Somerset the praise they deserve for playing so well."