Surrey’s bowlers produced a disciplined performance on day one of the LV= County Championship match against Somerset, but Tom Abell notched an unbeaten century.
Somerset skipper Tom Abell scored his first hundred of the season in the LV= County Championship as his side finally found some batting form against Surrey at The Kia Oval.
Beaten in their first two Division One games by Hampshire and Essex, Somerset took a bit of a risk when they opted to bat first on a green-tinged pitch. But Abell, who came in during the tenth over following the dismissal of Tom Lammonby, batted through the rest of an absorbing, hard-fought day to reach 121 not out as Somerset, who are looking for their first Championship win at The Oval since 1995, closed on 283/6.
It was an outstanding effort by the 28-year-old who had to grind it out in the morning session when, with a bit more luck, Surrey might have taken three or four wickets.
As conditions eased Abell prospered. His most productive partnership was with veteran James Hildreth, who had made one of only two half-centuries in Somerset’s four innings this season but passed 18,000 first-class runs in his 54.
Full highlights of day one, which included two wickets apiece for Reece Topley and Jordan Clark. 🎥👇 pic.twitter.com/IX1qizWSUS
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) April 21, 2022
They added 103 in 28 overs either side of tea at nearly four runs an over to secure Somerset’s first batting bonus point of the season and it was a surprise when Hildreth, who scored a hundred in this fixture last season, drove loosely at off-spinner Will Jacks and was caught at point shortly after reaching his 80th first-class fifty.
Abell’s four previous innings this season had yielded just 28 runs, but it wasn’t until he was on 97 that he offered a chance when Pope at second slip couldn’t hang on diving full-length to his right despite getting his fingertips to the ball. A clip off his legs in the next over from Topley took Abell to his ninth first-class hundred and at stumps he’d batted for five and a half hours, faced 247 balls and hit 19 fours.
Somerset had scored 109, 154, 180 and 135 in their four previous Championship innings this season and their supporters might have feared a repeat when Lammonby fell to Reece Topley. The left-armer got a ball angled in to straighten and the edge was well taken low at second slip by Pope.
Surrey’s accurate attack gave away only 62 runs in the morning session and their efforts were typified by Sam Curran, who was playing his first game of 2022 after recovering from a back injury. He bowled a six-over spell at a cost of nine runs and four more after lunch which went for eight runs.
Abell and Matt Renshaw put on 66 for the second wicket when Jamie Overton had Renshaw caught at second slip for 48 with the first ball of a new spell, and Somerset were 120/3 in the 53rd over after Tom Banton was drawn forward by Jordan Clark and got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
Hildreth’s dismissal came off the final delivery before Surrey took the new ball and Clark enjoyed immediate success with it, removing Steven Davies for a duck.
Craig Overton was caught at backward point when Topley dug one in short to pick up his second wicket and leave Somerset 237/6 and in danger of squandering their captain’s diligence. But Josh Davey helped Abell add an unbroken 46 for the seventh wicket and ensured Somerset enjoyed their best day of the season so far.