County Championship Division One

Somerset 199 & 329 beat Yorkshire 103-9 and 127-9 by 298 runs

SOMERSET moved a step closer to their first ever County Championship title with a crushing win over Yorkshire in Taunton which has put the hosts back on top of the Division One table with two games to play.

Josh Davey claimed 5-21 as the hosts required just 45.1 overs to take the nine wickets required to wrap up victory, Ben Coad absent for a Yorkshire side who were pursuing a nominal 426 for victory.

Jamie Overton and Roelof van der Merwe were also in fine form with the ball for a rampant Somerset side who, should Essex draw at Edgbaston, will head to the Ageas Bowl next week as Championship leaders.

Somerset, who had started the day with a lead of 365, looked to accelerate in the morning and the game moved on quickly from the outset.

After Lewis Gregory and George Bartlett each fell having advanced down the wicket to Keshav Maharaj, the South African spinner was reverse swept for two sixes in three balls in a show of exuberance by Roelof van der Merwe.

The batsman fell attempting a third big hit, lofting to Tom Kohler-Cadmore at mid-off, to hand Maharaj his 10th wicket of the match and his 21st in two visits to Taunton, having taken 11 for Lancashire in last September’s dramatic tie.

There was still time in Somerset’s innings for Jamie Overton to club two enormous sixes down the ground off Steven Patterson, who then clean bowled the Somerset paceman with the score on 329, a lead of 425.

An already difficult task became nigh on impossible when the two prize scalps, Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance, were each dismissed before lunch.

Jamie Overton had a hand in both, taking a fine low catch at third slip off Davey to dismiss Lyth before squaring up Ballance with a quick ball which the England international could only edge through to Steve Davies behind the stumps.

Ballance’s dismissal came from the final ball before lunch, which arrived with Yorkshire on 43-2 and allowed Somerset to tuck into their sandwiches with an extra spring in their step.

Overton struck again shortly after the restart during a probing spell, makeshift opener Jonny Tattersall caught in two minds as to whether to play or leave and succeeding only in providing James Hildreth with a routine catch at second slip.

Yorkshire were staring down the barrel at 71-4 once Roelof van der Merwe found a way through Harry Brook’s defences, though his fellow spinner Dom Bess could have been forgiven for feeling like a spare part against a side with whom he spent two loan spells earlier this summer.

The Devonian bowled just four second innings overs but he is not one to be ignored for long and made sure he had an impact with an inspired piece of fielding, running out Tim Bresnan with a direct hit from backward point just as the former England man looked ready to settle in.

Tom Abell had the luxury of rotating his seamers, van der Merwe having tied up the River End, and Josh Davey struck twice in his first over back in the attack.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who faced 55 balls for his 11, provided Hildreth with another catch at slip and Maharaj had less impact with bat than with ball, trapped in front without scoring from his third delivery.

Davey then became the eighth Somerset bowler to take a Championship five-fer in 2019 – and the 10th in all formats – by claiming the final wicket, Bess taking a superb steepling catch running back from point to dismiss Duanne Olivier.