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Craig Overton tightens Somerset’s grip in bid for crucial victory

Northamptonshire 184 for 6 (Young 85, Overton 4-25) track Somerset 389 (Abell 111, Bartlett 62, Keogh 4-99) by 205 runs

Craig Overton marked his return to LV= County Championship cricket with four wickets as Somerset took control on the second day of the clash with Northamptonshire in Taunton.

After extending their first-innings total from an overnight 271 for four to 389 all out, the hosts reduced their opponents to 184 for six in reply and Overton ended the day with four for 25 from 13 overs.

Off-spinner Rob Keogh had claimed four for 99 and seamer Jack White three for 84 in a carefully composed Somerset innings which occupied 137.3 overs.

But both were surprised by Overton, working up at a good pace from the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End, having missed the last two Championship games on international duty and then a back problem.

Will Young kept Northamptonshire in the game with a defiant 85, but found little support from the rest of his side’s top six, who mustered just 37 between them.

Somerset began the day cautiously at the Cooper Associates County Ground, showing no inclination to chase the 79 runs in 14 overs that would have yielded four batting points.

Lewis Goldsworthy had not added to his overnight 22 in 6.4 overs when he produced a defensive shot to get rid of White first with the total on 284.

James Rew finally broke loose with successive boundaries from White to bring up the 300 and a third bonus point in the 107th over.

The young wicketkeeper fell lbw to Tom Taylor on 32 and Overton also departed in the morning session, advancing down the track to Keogh after making 13.

At lunch, Somerset were 362 for seven after scoring 91 in 31 overs. Lewis Gregory was 27 not out and added five after the interval before being pinned leg before on the back foot by White.

Sajid Khan and last man Kasey Aldridge perished trying to accelerate, firing shots to White and Josh Cobb respectively, both of whom had test catches.

Northants’ reply had reached 16 when Emilio Gay feathered a catch to Rew off Josh Davey, who quickly followed up by having Luke Procter bagged by Overton at second slip.

Davey almost got a third wicket when Cobb chipped a catch to mid-on but had overstepped and was called for a no-ball.

Overton had not been given the new ball, but his introduction to the attack reaped quick dividends as Cobb fended off a surging delivery to short leg to make 29 for three.

The visitors were in a hole eight runs later when Keogh was caught behind by Overton as he tried to pull his bat back.

But Young held on and was unbeaten on 40 at tea, which was taken on 73 for four. The Northamptonshire skipper moved to a superb fifty off 88 balls with 10 fours.

Overton had resumed the attack at the start of the final session and produced a quick delivery to have Ricardo Vasconcelos, on 17, caught behind by Rew who reached overhead.

The England seamer, perhaps still mindful of his recent back spasms, was then immediately replaced by the expensive Aldridge, whose first seven overs, in two innings, went for 42 runs.

Somerset’s grip appeared to be loosening as Saif Zaib helped Young add 63 for the sixth wicket. But back came Overton for a third spell to claim another key scalp.

After facing 153 balls and extending his boundary tally to 15, Young got a defensive push to second slip where Tom Abell took a comfortable catch.

At 158 ​​for six, Northants still needed 82 to avoid the prospect of following on. Zaib survived a Test examination from Overton to be unbeaten on 27 at the close, with Taylor 19 not out at a stand of 26.

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