David Hopps at Somerset 124-9 v Essex
Is it still permissable to call batting brainless these days. I'm not quite sure. But Somerset have come close to it at Taunton. If you don't like brainless, try incompetent. Neil Wagner has five wickets in 34 balls, all of them with short balls and not particularly venomous at that.
Wagner tries to swing the new ball and then resorts to short-ball aggression with the old. It is not as if they have carried much malevolence, but Somerset's batsmen, like Essex before them, are playing with a mistrust of a surface that is not remotely as indifferent as they seem to imagine.
Wagner's assault began with Steve Davies, whose square drive off the back foot flew at catchable height to point. Peter Trego was strangled down the leg-side and, further down the scorecard, the shots got worse. Roelof van der Merwe attempted a one-legged whip and was caught at midwicket and Lewis Gregory top-edged a pull to long leg.
That left Jamie Overton. Before lunch, Overton had bounced out Wagner. Wagner removed Alastair Cook from slip to strengthen the leg-side with the same intent. Blow me, if Overton did not top-edge a hare-brained pull straight up in the air.
At 124 for 9, Somerset lead by 204 with the last pair at the wicket. At 69-2, 149 on, they had a chance to put Essex out of the game. But whatever the scorecard suggests 230 is still gettable in the fourth innings here. The question is whether anybody in this curious match will bat well enough to get them.