Barrow and Chawla revive Somerset's fortunes
Somerset's hopes of avoiding relegation from Division One of the County Championship were boosted by a lower-order fightback on the first day against Middlesex at Lord's.
Alex Barrow and Piyush Chawla, the Indian left-arm spinner making his second appearance for the county, both scored half-centuries in an eighth-wicket stand of 107 to help Somerset reach 328 for eight at the close.
They pulled Somerset around after they had lost four wickets for 33 either side of tea to slump to 211 for seven.
Both batsmen went on the offensive and deserved the luck that came their way. Chawla was dropped on 15 by the diving Ollie Rayner at second slip and shortly after reaching his 50 Barrow mistimed a pull and was relieved to see it drop to the ground between three fielders.
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Their attacking instincts were always to the fore. Chawla hit Rayner and Neil Dexter for straight sixes while Barrow reached his second half-century of the season with his sixth four, a dismissive pull off Tim Murtagh.
Until they came together in the 66th over, the game had belonged to Middlesex. Dexter picked up three of the first four wickets to fall with his nagging medium-pace before left-arm spinner Ravi Patel took two wickets in eight balls.
Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick has yet to make a hundred this summer and that wait will continue after he fell for 64, leg before wicket working across the line to a straight ball from Murtagh. Trescothick had helped Nick Compton put on 79 for the first wicket before Compton was caught in the gully off Dexter.
Chris Jones was dropped on nought by Sam Robson at short leg and made the most of his reprieve to score 58 before he drove away from his body at Dexter and was caught behind. Somerset were 178 for four at that stage and Middlesex's decision to play two spinners was soon paying dividends.
Craig Kieswetter was bowled by Patel when he came down the pitch looking to hit over the top, then Craig Meschede over-balanced and was stumped by wicketkeeper John Simpson, who had claimed his 50th dismissal of the season when James Hildreth was caught behind.
After tea, Lewis Gregory was taken at short leg to give off-spinner Rayner his first success but thereafter Middlesex struggled to contain Chawla and Barrow.
Chawla went to his 50 with a thick edge over gully for his seventh boundary that brought up the 100 partnership, but after adding 107 in 26 overs Barrow was leg before to Gareth Berg for 65. Chawla's unbeaten 58 came from 75 balls.