sport

Barrow helps Somerset recover

Alex Barrow's career-best 88 helped Somerset to 314 all out on the first day of the County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Taunton.

Having lost the toss, the hosts plunged to 70 for four after David Willey had removed both openers cheaply. But 22-year-old Barrow then counter-attacked with 18 fours in sharing a fifth-wicket stand of 153 with Nick Compton, who made 79.

Seamers Willey (four for 64) and Azharullah (three for 69) capitalised on a green looking pitch, while the batsmen enjoyed the benefit of uninterrupted sunshine.

By the close Northants had replied with 39 for no wicket and were entitled to feel on top.

At the start of the day Marcus Trescothick scored the five runs he needed to reach 1,000 for the season in first class games. But, having moved onto 12, the Somerset captain had his off stump knocked back by Willey.

It was 25 for two when opening partner Johann Myburgh, also on 12, was lbw to an inswinger from Willey, whose seven over opening spell from the Old Pavilion end brought a return of two for 12.

At the other end Azharullah bowled eight overs for 21, half of them maidens, and picked up the wicket of youngster Tom Abell, bowled off stump for two.

James Hildreth helped Compton add 28 for the fourth wicket before carelessly pulling a catch to mid-wicket off Andrew Hall, having made 22.

It was 81 for four at lunch, with Barrow still not off the mark. His first scoring shot was an edged boundary through the slips, but as the afternoon wore on the stand-in wicketkeeper for the injured Craig Kieswetter produced a string of sweet cover drives.

Compton, who had played and missed with uncharacteristic frequency early in his innings, also settled, having been unbeaten on 30 at the interval. He moved to a half-century off 114 balls, with 9 fours.

Barrow quickly followed to the same landmark, having faced 67 deliveries and struck 11 boundaries. After more positive stroke-play, a flowing drive through extra cover off Willey saw him equal his previous best score of 83 and beat it with a single in the same over.

The pair had taken the score to 223 when Barrow followed a short ball from Willey and was caught behind down the leg side by wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, having faced only 97 deliveries.

Compton looked on course for a hundred, but the last ball before tea from Azharullah pinned him lbw on the back foot and Somerset were 235 for six. He had batted for 11 minutes short of four hours and faced 170 balls.

The final session saw Azharullah have Peter Trego caught behind for 13, while Ben Duckett ran out Craig Overton for 22 with a direct hit from point.

Alfonso Thomas was bowled middle stump by James Middlebrook, but Lewis Gregory ensured Somerset of a third batting point with a confident 33 before being last man out to Willey with the second new ball.

Northants were left with 11 overs to bat. With one or two alarms, skipper Stephen Peters and James Kettleborough saw them safely to the close.