Specsavers County Championship - day 2
Somerset 324-7 v Hampshire 231

JAMES Hildreth hit his 41st century for Somerset as the hosts took charge on the second day of their County Championship encounter with Hampshire.

Hildreth ended the day unbeaten on 125, having been ably supported by Craig Overton's fluent 80, as the home side took a 93-run lead into Sunday.

In the morning, Somerset were looking for two quick wickets as Hampshire resumed on 198-8, and they had them both inside the first half hour.

Tim Groenewald removed Kyle Abbott for five (caught by Hildreth) and Overton dismissed Fidel Edwards for seven (snaffled behind by Steve Davies), as Brad Wheal ended with an unbeaten 25 in the visitors' 231 all out.

Tom Abell recorded the best bowling figures of the innings, with 3-36 off 11 overs, while Groenewald took 3-59 off 16 overs.

In reply, Somerset reached 39 before losing the returning Eddie Byrom, bowled by Edwards for 10, and when Wheal had George Bartlett (1) caught in the slips by Rilee Rossouw, the home side had slumped to 40-2.

Matt Renshaw was treating the Somerset faithful to some more excellent shots, with five fours and a six on his way to 36, but at that point he was caught by Jimmy Adams off Gareth Berg.

The score of 71-3 became 71-4 when Berg struck again to dismiss Abell for a duck, Edwards taking the catch.

James Hildreth enjoyed some fortune, having been dropped, but he and Steve Davies successfully reached lunch at 86-4.

Hampshire had been hit by an ankle injury to Abbott, and shortly after Hildreth reached his half-century (off 56 balls, with nine fours) and then the 50-run partnership with Davies, the latter was forced to retire on 26, with an injury to his foot.

Lewis Gregory came in and was soon on his way out again, his unsteady season with the bat continuing as he was bowled by Wheal for two.

Overton joined Hildreth at 134-5, and the England man took the attack to the visiting bowlers, hitting boundaries at regular intervals.

The pair achieved their 50 partnership, and then a batting point as the Somerset total reached 203-5 at tea.

Abbott was fit enough to return for Hampshire, and it emerged that Davies had recovered to resume his innings at the fall of the next wicket, but Hildreth and Overton were in no mood to leave so soon.

The pair continued with their clean hitting, a succession of booming boundaries taking Overton to his half-century (off 58 balls, and including seven fours).

That was soon followed by Hildreth achieving his ton, secured with his 13th four, the milestone reached off 138 balls.

Somerset now led, and had a second batting point on the board, but Overton then departed for an excellent 80, bowled by Berg, having added 133 runs together with Hildreth.

Davies came in and was on his way again soon after for 33, as Berg claimed his fourth wicket - caught by Adams.

But Hildreth (125no) and Jack Leach (22no) took Somerset past the 300-run mark, before bad light ended play with the home side on 324-7.