Cricket: visiting side take control

Somerset, who went into the LV County Championship match against Essex requiring 10 points to be crowned Division Two champions, dominated the opening day at Chelmsford.

Somerset, who went into the LV County Championship match against Essex requiring 10 points to be crowned Division Two champions, dominated the opening day at Chelmsford.

The visitors wasted little time in collecting their three bowling points as they shot out Essex for 144 in 46.1 overs.

And they picked up two batting points to move half way to their target as they closed on 284 for six - Danish Kaneria having taken all the wickets to fall.

It was only the fine performance of 18-year-old Tom Westley, making only his third Championship appearance, who spared Essex from complete humiliation after they had chosen to bat.


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Arriving after the first wicket had gone down without a run on the board, Westley displayed a composure and authority which was lacking in his team-mates, none of whom got beyond 15.

Westley, an England under-19 player, struck 12 boundaries in making 72 before he was ninth out.

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The young right-hander caught the eye with some well-timed drives either side of the wicket before he was caught behind off Charl Willoughby.

A fine opening spell by Willoughby brought him three wickets at a cost of only eight runs in nine overs and he went on to finish with five for 36 from 18.

During the process he claimed his 50th Championship victim of the season as for once Andrew Caddick failed to add to his season's haul.

Marcus Trescothick and Neil Edwards were soon punishing the home bowlers when Somerset replied.

They raised the 100 in the 14th over, by which time Trescothick had completed a 35-ball half-century containing 12 fours, before leg-spinner Kaneria removed both in his third over with the total on 114.

Trescothick was caught at short fine leg for 59 from a top-edged sweep, while Edwards was caught behind after making 55 from 52 deliveries, nine of which he despatched for four.

Justin Langer, caught at point for 43, and James Hildreth - who made 61 before slicing to cover point - also became victims of Kaneria, as did Ian Blackwell and Peter Trego.

But despite Kaneria's great efforts - he has so far taken six for 81 in 22 overs - Somerset finished in a commanding position with a lead of 140 going into the second day.

Kaneria's performance took his season's tally of Championship wickets to 72 and he has now claimed five or more victims in an innings for the seventh time this summer.

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