County Championship - day one (close)

Somerset 236 v Middlesex 18-3

SOMERSET claimed three late wickets to leave their crunch County Championship clash with Middlesex intriguingly poised after an action-packed first day in Taunton.

A familiar batting collapse saw Somerset tumble from 205-4 to 236 all out, but Craig Overton and Jack Leach both struck in the evening sunshine to reduce the visitors to 5-3, from which they recovered to reach 18-3 at the close.

The day started promisingly for the hosts, as captain Tom Abell won the toss and chose to bat first.

Marcus Trescothick and Eddie Byrom continued on from where they had left off in the first innings against Surrey last week, and the latter brought up his maiden First Class half century from 80 balls with 11 fours.

Just as it looked as though the pair had safely negotiated the morning session, however, a leading edge from Byrom landed in the hands of Adam Voges from the bowling of Paul Stirling and the young opener had to depart for 56 with the score on 93-1.

Trescothick (37) then fell victim to the copious amounts of spin on offer, as he perished lbw offering no shot to Ravi Patel before George Bartlett (25) was bowled round his legs by the same bowler to leave Somerset 139-3.

Tom Abell got off to a flyer, scoring five early boundaries, but his promising innings was brought to a rather shambolic end as, attempting a second run, he was sent back by James Hildreth and the bails were whipped off before his despairing dive could see him home.

Following the captain's departure for 25, Hildreth joined forces with Steve Davies to take Somerset past 200 for the loss of just four wickets, but the strong platform was wasted by some questionable shots thereafter.

Hildreth had reached 41 before he was trapped lbw attempting a reverse sweep, and Roelof van der Merwe fell from the very next delivery after coming down the wicket and edging to slip.

The bowlers then departed in near-identical fashion, with Craig Overton (1), Dom Bess (0) and Jack Leach (14) all caught in the deep attempting slog sweeps as the hosts slipped to 230-9.

Davies (27) was the final man to go as Ravi Patel ended with 7-81, leaving Somerset rueing the lack of batting points.

Middlesex set out knowing that scoring 250 would keep them up - most likely at Somerset's expense - but Craig Overton and Jack Leach tore into the visiting batsmen.

Overton was first to strike as Nick Compton fell for a duck on his return to Taunton, and Leach then had both Stevie Eskinazi (1) and Sam Robson (4) edging to Marcus Trescothick, who held on with ease on both occasions.

The remarkable start left Middlesex reeling on 5-3, but Dawid Malan (9*) and Adam Voges (4*) added 13 unbeaten runs prior to the close and will resume in the morning hoping to consolidate.

Somerset, meanwhile, simply have to keep their opponents below 250 - something they will be confident of achieving after their blistering start with the ball.