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Tom Banton and Craig Overton set up opportunity for Shoaib Bashir to be Somerset’s match-winner

Shoaib Bashir appeals
Shoaib Bashir appeals at Taunton - Getty Images/Harry Trump

England’s new off-spinner Shoaib Bashir faces the next major step in his career on day three of Somerset’s championship game against Nottinghamshire. He has been, aged 20, admirably steady under the cosh of India’s batsmen, but can he spin out a team second time round under the weight of expectation?

In his three Tests Bashir never had scoreboard pressure on his side, or runs to play with, but he will after Somerset piled up a first innings lead of 261. Bashir could have had a couple more wickets first time round, so accurate and unfortunate was he, but he might have to be more creative to spin out Notts and condemn them to their second defeat of this season.

Bashir owes Somerset too. With his partner on 95 Bashir, at No 11, went for an enormous swing and skied to extra-cover. For an England supporter it was as disappointing as seeing James Rew bounced out, scooping Lyndon James from round the wicket to square-leg.

Somerset’s lead was built by two former England players, Tom Banton and Craig Overton, who was left stranded on 95. Banton, who is only 25, played 20 white-ball internationals, as a ‘new Jos Buttler’, but he found Covid isolation on the franchise circuit more difficult than most.

To his credit Banton did not decide to focus on T20 only but has tried to become a red-ball batsman too. He was beaten by outswing early on then settled into some majestic off-driving, along the ground. His second first-class century was in sight when he clipped to mid-wicket for 83.

There would have been an audible groan if the crowd had been larger but even on a cloudless spring day, with Somerset on top, it was roughly half what it would have been only a couple of years ago.

The new Notts captain Haseeb Hameed made a mistake in taking the second new ball when Somerset had been struggling against the leg-spin of Calvin Harrison, who had taken three wickets in 12 overs before the second ball. Overton was much happier against medium-pace, as was Somerset’s latest signing Migael Pretorius, who stood tall to hit some crunching drives.

They garnered all but one of the five batting points as they smote 139 off 22 overs, until Pretorius was bowled for 77 off 70 balls, and Bashir slogged, careless of the fact that Overton was five runs short of his second first-class hundred.

Everyone loves a lord, it is said, but English seamers love Dukes even more. Totals have been substantially lower in this third round of championship matches, owing to the greater lateral movement that seamers have enjoyed.

Essex have continued to prosper, and are on course to become the first county to win two games, while Middlesex’s seamers have pinned down Yorkshire – even Harry Brook was out first ball to Ryan Higgins.

Defying the latest trend, Australia’s Marcus Harris scored a double-century for Leicestershire – 214 off 303 balls – and South Africa’s David Bedingham a century for Durham to dominate their game against Worcestershire at Kidderminster.

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