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Somerset v Middlesex: Ravi Patel takes 7-81 before hosts fight back in relegation battle


Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground (day one):Somerset 236: Byrom 56, Hildreth 41; Patel 7-81Middlesex 18-3: Malan 9*; Leach 2-3Somerset 2 pts, Middlesex 3 ptsScorecardMiddlesex spinner Ravi Patel returned figures of 7-81 before Somerset fought back late on day one at Taunton.Somerset, who need to win to stand a chance of staying in Division One, started well through Ed Byrom (56) and Marcus Trescothick (37).But on a spinning pitch, Patel triggered a collapse as the hosts took just one batting point from their 236.

Jack Leach then took 2-3 as Middlesex reached stumps on 18-3, needing a further 232 runs to guarantee safety.The away side began the day on 143 points, needing nine points to avoid the drop – a target based on Somerset (127) gaining the maximum 24 points for a win. But after the hosts took one batting point their target was reduced to five points.Having taken all three bonus bowling points, Middlesex need to reach 250 runs in their first innings to gain two batting bonus points and take their overall total to 148 – one point more than the 147 Somerset can potentially earn from a 20-point win.Somerset went into this relegation decider in the most perilous position following their defeat by Surrey last week and prepared a green pitch in order to take the required 20 wickets to beat fifth-placed Middlesex.But despite winning the toss and electing to bat, their efforts were undermined by Patel, who bowled well to exploit the conditions and take career-best figures, finding prodigious turn to trap Trescothick lbw and begin the collapse from 206-4 to 236 all out.James Hildreth (41), Steve Davies (27), George Bartlett (25) and Tom Abell (25) all got starts, but poor shot selection against the spin of Patel and Paul Stirling (2-70) saw the hosts fall short of precious batting points.However, Leach’s late seven-over spell, which had Sam Robson and Stevie Eskinazi caught at slip by Trescothick, gives Somerset hope they can pick up the win they require to save themselves and relegate either Middlesex or Hampshire.
Source: BBC Somerset