Heroics by Kieswetter and Hussain help Somerset to astonishing win
By Western Daily Press | Monday, July 23, 2012, 05:00
Craig Kieswetter hit a brilliant century and Gemaal Hussain took five wickets as Somerset launched an incredible fightback to beat Warwickshire by one wicket in one of the most thrilling games ever seen at Taunton.
Somerset, who had come within four runs of having to follow on in the LV= County Championship match, went into the final day on Saturday 212 runs behind Division One leaders Warwickshire, who still had seven second-innings wickets left.
However, a brilliant five-wicket spell from Hussain, who has endured a difficult year-and-a-half at Taunton, on the final morning turned the game on its head – before Kieswetter's majestic 152 helped Somerset chase 271 for victory.
Even then, it was not straightforward, with the home side slipping from 259 for five to 269 for nine, before Hussain – who had finished with bowling figures of five for 48 – blocked five balls and Pete Trego hit the winning runs with a four.
The victory has launched Somerset, who were without a number of key players through injury and under-19 international call-ups, firmly back into the Championship title race. They are now eight points behind the leaders with six games to play.
Kieswetter, who hit seven sixes in his 170-ball 152, including three off the same Jeetan Patel over, said: "I was delighted to be able to contribute like I did to a win in four-day cricket. It was really rewarding for us and paramount to get some points on the board and get ourselves right back in contention.
"I have had a lot of starts and made a lot of small contributions with the bat this season, so to get a big one was really rewarding."
Warwickshire resumed on 66 for three on the final day, but lost their last seven wickets for 58 runs in fewer than 16 overs. Hussain trapped Varun Chopra for 32, Alfonso Thomas had Tim Ambrose caught at midwicket for one, then Hussain struck twice with the total on 82 to remove Rikki Clarke for five and Chris Woakes for a duck.
After Keith Barker was caught behind off Thomas for one, Patel and Darren Maddy added 32 for the ninth wicket to take Warwickshire into three figures, but Thomas and Hussain wrapped up the visitors' innings for 124.
That gave Somerset a target of 271 from a minimum of 78 overs for an unlikely victory – but they soon slipped to 15 for three, with Alex Barrow out for a duck, Arul Suppiah gone for two and James Hildreth falling for eight.
That brought Kieswetter to the middle – and he and Nick Compton (52) carried Somerset to the brink of victory in a stunning 166-run partnership. They still required 90, though, when Compton got a thin edge to a Woakes delivery and was caught behind – and Jos Buttler (24) helped Kieswetter add 55 of those runs in a fifth-wicket stand.
But then came the nervy finale, sparked by Kieswetter's exit for 152 when he was caught by Woakes at long leg off Barker. Somerset lost four wickets for ten runs as Craig Meschede, Thomas and Max Waller all departed in quick succession, leaving them needing two runs with one wicket left.
After Hussain proved resolute against Barker, blocking five deliveries to see out the over, Trego found the boundary to seal a remarkable win.