Innings victory boosts hope of winning survival battle
SOMERSET strengthened their chances of avoiding relegation from LV= County Championship Division One by wrapping up an innings and 179-run win over Middlesex with almost a day and two full sessions to spare.
Having made Middlesex follow-on 343 runs in arrears on Thursday, Somerset skittled the fourth-placed hosts for 164 second time around last week to wrap up only their second Championship win of the campaign and their first in four-day cricket at Lord's since 1983 as they moved out of the relegation zone.
Resuming on their parlous overnight state of 52 for two and already following on, Middlesex suffered a further hammer blow to their title aspirations when they lost leading-scorer Sam Robson to the 16th ball of the day.
Pushing forward in defence to Lewis Gregory, the Australian-born opener edged to second slip, where Marcus Trescothick took a reflex ankle-high catch to make it 69 for three.
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Needing 343 simply to make the visitors bat for a second time, Middlesex had mustered 85 when Trescothick pouched another sharp chance close in at second slip to account for Dawid Malan – moments after the left-hander had notched his 5,000th run in first-class cricket.
Soon after John Simpson (nine) suffered a luckless run-out when Neil Dexter's firm, straight drive was tipped onto the non-striker's stumps by Craig Meschede with Simpson still out of his ground when backing up.
Meschede was replaced at the Nursery End by Devon-born England prospect Jamie Overton, who struck with only his second ball by bowling Gareth Berg for a duck with a rapid yorker to make it 102 for six.
Trescothick was called into action again in the 35th over, snaffling an overhead chance once again at second slip after Ollie Rayner's airy waft outside off against Alfonso Thomas to send the hosts into lunch on 148 for seven.
In the sixth over after the resumption James Harris (22), playing back in defence to a lifting delivery from Gregory, was unable to keep the ball down and it ballooned off the splice to be caught by the bowler following through. Trescothick bagged his fifth catch in the cordon from a Tim Murtagh slashed drive.
Four balls later, last man Ravi Patel lost his off stump to a yorker to end the game 20 minutes after lunch and give Gregory career-best figures of five for 38 – the Plymouth-born player's maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
Somerset director of cricket Dave Nosworthy told the club's website: "This was a really good all-round performance by us. We were engrossed on what our target was for this game and we executed it well. It was a very good result for us.
"We had a really good chat before the game so, we knew what we were going to do and everyone stood up in different areas to help us achieve that."