Somerset 9-1 trail Essex 159 by 150 runs
Somerset seamers Paul van Meekeren and Craig Overton took four wickets each as Division One leaders Essex were skittled for 159 inside one and a half sessions on day one at Chelmsford.
Dutchman van Meekeren, 24, making his Specsavers County Championship debut, finished with career-best first-class figures of four for 60, while Overton took his season’s red-ball tally to 29 wickets with four for 40.
In reply, Somerset had reduced the deficit by just nine runs from 11 overs for the loss of Marcus Trescothick’s wicket, caught behind off Jamie Porter for two.
Essex’s second major collapse of the innings started straight after lunch when they lost three quick wickets. Nick Browne and Ryan ten Doeschate had repaired the early damage of 39 for four with a fifth-wicket stand of 51 in 13 overs when the captain fell to the sixth ball after the break.
Ten Doeschate stood his ground in the belief the ball had reached Trescothick in the slips on the bounce. But the umpires conferred before sending ten Doeschate back for a 42-ball 35 that included five fours and a six.
Browne followed in Overton’s next over, attempting a hook but top-edging so high that three fielders converged from distant parts before van Meekeren dived full-length to take backward of square. The left-hander’s 44 took 94 balls with six fours. And James Foster didn’t hang around long, caught low down among the slips by James Hildreth.
Paul Walter carried Essex into three-figures with a well-executed cover-drive for four. He helped put on 23 for the eighth wicket before Simon Harmer went for 12. His thick edge off van Meekeren was pushed into the air above his head by Trescothick, who competed the catch at the second attempt.
Walter became van Meekeren’s fourth scalp when he was bowled through the gate by a straight one. After some lusty hitting by the last pair, Porter chopped down on a delivery from Overton, only for the ball to trickle on to his stumps. Mohammad Amir was 22 not out, the third-highest individual score of the innings.