Rehman wrecks Worcestershire as Trescothick and Suppiah take grip
Abdur Rehman claimed career-best figures of nine for 65 as Somerset bowled out Worcestershire for 212 on the opening day of the final LV= County Championship match of the season at Taunton.
The Pakistan left-arm spinner’s return was the best by a Somerset bowler since 1993, when Andy Caddick took nine for 32 in a home Championship game against Lancashire.
Worcestershire collapsed from a promising 74 without loss, Phil Hughes making 42 and Alexei Kervezee 40.
By the close, Somerset had reached 142 without loss in reply, with Arul Suppiah unbeaten on 73 and Marcus Trescothick 66 not out.
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An enthralling morning’s cricket began with Hughes and Daryl Mitchell dominating the new ball and rattling up a half-century opening stand in 8.4 overs after Mitchell had won the toss.
But everything changed when Rehman was introduced into the attack at the Old Pavilion End. With the last ball of his first over, he had Hughes caught at slip by Trescothick, driving at a full delivery.
In his next over, Rehman had Mitchell taken by James Hildreth at second slip for 28. Moeen Ali then had the unusual distinction of registering a six and a seven with his first two scoring strokes.
First he hit Rehman handsomely over long-on, and then profited from four overthrows after running three to move to 13.
However, the bowler soon hit back, taking a return catch to dismiss Neil Pinner off a leading edge.
It was 119 for four when Moeen was snapped up at short-leg by Chris Jones off Rehman for 24 and by lunch Worcestershire had progressed to 131 for four.
Kervezee then fell leg before trying to sweep Rehman, who had switched to the River End, having hit six fours and helped advance the score to 155. And, with the score on 173, Damian D’Oliveira became another lbw victim having made only two.
When Rehman bowled Aneesh Kapil for 22 with a ball that turned and clipped his off stump, there appeared an excellent chance of the bowler claiming all ten wickets, something only two Somerset players have ever achieved.
But Peter Trego had Chris Russell caught behind to register his 49th Championship wicket of the season, and Rehman had to be content with nine from his 24 overs as he gained two more successful lbw verdicts against Nick Harrison and Alan Richardson.
The ball turning so much on the first day might have interested the pitch inspector, but Trescothick and Suppiah were soon putting the surface in perspective, bringing up their century stand in the 25th over.
Trescothick eased his way to a 75-ball half-century, including nine fours, and Suppiah soon followed, bringing up his fifty with a six and a four in the same over from Moeen.
It seemed it was Rehman’s world-class ability, rather than any undue terrors in the pitch, which had caused Worcestershire’s downfall.