Jamie Porter leads Essex into a strong position over Somerset

PUBLISHED: 20:08 26 September 2020 | UPDATED: 20:09 26 September 2020

Essex's Alastair Cook celebrates catching out Somerset's Lewis Gregory (not in picture) during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.

Essex's Alastair Cook celebrates catching out Somerset's Lewis Gregory (not in picture) during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Jamie Porter has put Essex into a strong position as they shape up for the final day’s play in this Bob Willis Trophy clash at Lord’s where Somerset will resume on 227 for 7 and a lead of 191.

Essex's Tom Lammonby in action during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.Essex's Tom Lammonby in action during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.

The 27 year-old pace bowler took 4 for 51 including a spell of three wickets in 21 ballas at a cost of 9 runs to restore the initiative to the 2019 County Champions after their opponents had been 155 for 1 at one stage and seemingly set for a substantial second innings total.

Porter though had other ideas and claimed the wickets of Ed Byrom, George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory in a destructive spell after tea having accounted for Tom Abell before the interval.

Yet Porter had already made his mark on the day’s proceedings when, as a nightwatchman, he helped Adam Wheater put on 37 runs for the 7th wicket an alliance that ensured Essex a first innings lead by the time his hour long stay at the crease was ended.

Essex still required 31 runs to overhaul the Somerset first innings score of 301 when play began but assisted but an early helping up 10 extras, they closed down the deficit before Wheater took successive fours from Craig Overton and two overs later Porter followed with another boundary this time via a perfectly executed off drive.

Essex's Tom Lammonby in action during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.Essex's Tom Lammonby in action during day four of the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord's, London.

Four more extras ensured Essex a first innings lead before Porter was out for 13 and then Harmer departed for a duck to leave Essex on 303 for 8 but Wheater and Aaron Beard composed an unbroken 34 runs stand taking Essex to the closure point of their innings at 120 overs and a total of 337-8.

Trailing by 36 runs on first innings, the Somerset openers made excellent progress posting the highest first wicked partnership for the county in the competition this season.

They had reached 105 before Green guided a ball from Beard into the hands of Alastair Cook at first slip to depart for 41 but his opening partner Tom Lammonby continued to play masterfully.

For the third time in as many matches in the competition this season, the 20 year-old reached his century, this one from 134 balls with 15 boundaries. But around him wickets fell cheaply with Porter having Abell caught at mid-wicket for 15 before racing in to encourage Byrom to drag a ball onto his stumps and then having Bartlett caught by Tom Westley at mid-on.

Lammonby had advanced to 116 when Harmer trapped him in front of the stumps to leave Somerset 187 for five and one run later, Porter picked up the wicket of Gregory with the assistance of a superb two-handed slip catch by Alastair Cook.

A second wicket followed for Simon Harmer who encouraged Steve Davies, on 19. to edge to slip where Cook collected his third catch of the innings.

That ended a stand of 36 as Somerset recoiled to 224-7 and three runs later bad ,light stopped play for the day with a loss of 6.1 overs.

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Porter has so far taken 4 for 51 from 19 overs, Harmer 2 for 79 from 28 and Beard 1 for 28.

Essex will hope to wrap up the innings early tomorrow to leave themselves the best part of the 90 overs available to round off the season with victory and a trophy.

Jamie Porter insists that if Essex win the Bob Willis Trophy by drawing the match it will not diminish the achievement.

Reigning County Champions Essex will lift the trophy if they avoid being bowled out by Somerset on the final day – as a draw will be good enough for them, due to a higher first innings total.

Somerset boast a lead of 191 heading into day five and when asked if drawing the match would sour the achievement the fast bowler said: “If I’m being honest, no!

“It was fairly even this morning when we went out to bat and they had a chance to knock us over without taking that lead.

“Obviously we would look to win the game and we would like to win the game.

“I don’t think it will effect our approach tomorrow, maybe little things like coming off for the bad light means we aren’t disheartened by it.

“In other circumstances you might be thinking about rolling them in the bad light while it is offering a little but under light but coming off doesn’t hurt you as much knowing that light is on our side.”

Porter claimed an impressive 4-51 but spent the majority of the day watching 20-year-old Tom Lammonby compile his third century in as many matches.

Lammonby, who only made his first-class debut last month, struck 117 to draw comparisons of current England Test opener Rory Burns from Porter.

“I think he looks like Rory Burns in the way he played with the strength on the leg side, albeit with a more pleasing setup on the eye,” Porter said.

“I was really impressed. I probably didn’t show it while I was bowling at him but he played some shots off my bowling where I bowled a good ball that he hit for four. Only good batters do that.

“The confidence for a young lad to come out and bat like that in such a big game was very impressive and I am excited to see what the future holds for him.”

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