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Day 4 of 4
Match Drawn

Somerset vs Durham

Durham close the gap

Somerset cruise to ensure draw at Taunton

Harmison: Removed Trescothick again

LV County Championship - Division One
Taunton
Somerset 224 (Z de Bruyn 76, S J Harmison 5-84) & 181-2 (J L Langer 109 no) v Durham 400-7 dec (M J Di Venuto 135, S Chanderpaul 93, D M Benkenstein 62 no, P J Wiseman 52)
Somerset (7pts) drew with Durham (12pts)

Durham secured maximum bonus points from their County Championship match against title rivals Somerset to close the gap at the top of the table.

The match ended in a draw after Somerset cruised to 181-2 in their second innings, but Durham earlier reached 400-7 declared to earn five points more than their hosts at Taunton.

And with two rounds of matches left just four points separates four sides in the logjam at the summit.

After England paceman Steve Harmison dismissed former international team-mate Marcus Trescothick for the second time in the match with one that nipped away off the pitch, home captain Justin Langer hurtled to his third Division One hundred of the season and past 1000 runs in the process.

The Australian left-hander got to three figures with a finely swept four off spinner Paul Wiseman and was shaking hands on a stalemate 15 minutes later.

Earlier Durham declared immediately after securing their fifth batting point in order to deny Somerset a potential extra bowling point.

Day three

Michael Di Venuto finished day three unbeaten on 131 as Durham made steady, yet unspectacular progress in their crunch Division One clash with Somerset.

The outcome of this top of the table match will almost certainly be a draw after Durham amassed a further 220 runs in just under 77 overs in the West Country.

With the entire first day washed out due to heavy rain, Durham clearly have their sights set on reaching the 400-run mark which will see them acquire maximum batting points.

Resuming day three on 45-1, Somerset struck early through Alfonso Thomas as Will Smith was clean bowled for 24.

Smith's dismissal brought Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Di Venuto together, and the pair looked irremovable for the majority of the day.

Both men passed their fifties with consummate ease as Somerset toiled - skipper Justin Langer using seven different bowlers in an attempt to get the breakthrough.

Australian Di Venuto brought up his century off 227 deliveries as the pair's allegiance stretched into its 60th over.

The two world class left-handers put on 174 for the third wicket before Chanderpaul, fresh from winning the ICC Cricketer of the Year award, was bowled by Charl Willoughby seven runs short of his century.

Captain Dale Benkenstein (14 not out) and Di Venuto safely negotiated the remainder of the final session as Durham attempt to reach the crucial 400 mark on Friday.

Day two

Steve Harmison returned figures of five for 84 as Somerset were skittled out on day two at Taunton.

The hosts lost their last seven wickets for 74 runs before their championship-chasing rivals chipped away 45 runs before the end of play for the loss of one wicket.

Somerset picked up just a solitary batting point and only a battling 76 from Zander de Bruyn threatened to inspire a bigger total - but Harmison's second spell proved decisive.

He had only taken the scalp of Marcus Trescothick, caught at third slip, in an initial nine over burst but returned from the old pavilion end to induce an edge from James Hildreth onto his stumps.

De Bruyn added 60 with Hildreth but wickets fell at swift intervals - Ian Blackwell was caught behind off Ben Harmison, Wes Durston charged spinner Paul Wiseman and Michael Munday chipped Steve Harmison to midwicket - to leave the hosts floundering.

De Bruyn was disappointingly run out by a direct hit from Ben Harmison attempting a third run to fine leg, and brother Steve yorked Peter Trego and Alfonso Thomas to wrap up the innings.

In the reply, Mark Stoneman was unfortunate to nick a beauty from Charl Willoughby but Michael Di Venuto and Will Smith saw their team safely through with bad light ending play early.

The opening day of the crucial LV County Championship fixture between Somerset and Durham was washed out without a ball being bowled.

Heavy overnight rain in Taunton left parts of the outfield under water and, after three inspections, umpires Graham Burgess and George Sharp decided no play would be possible at just before 3pm.

Both teams are in title contention with second-placed Somerset - who have never been champions - seven points ahead of Durham in third.

Nottinghamshire lead the standings by five points but have played a game more than the two sides immediately below.

The starting line-ups have yet to be announced and the rain gave Somerset wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter an extra day to recover from an ankle injury, sustained while playing football in the indoor nets at Trent Bridge during the rain-affected draw with Nottinghamshire last week.

If Kieswetter fails to recover, Carl Gazzard will make his first Championship appearance for two years.

Day One

No play possible due to rain.

Match Details

Date
9th - 10th Sep 2008
Toss
Venue
St James Street, Taunton
Umpires
G I Burgess and G Sharp

somerset BATTING CARD

Batsman R
Langer not out 109
Trescothick c Harmison 6
Hildreth c Harmison 44
Durston not out 12
Extras 8b, 2lb 10
Total 41.0 Overs 181 - 2
Full Batting Card

durham BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
Harmison 12 2 64 2
Thorp 8 0 28 0
Wiseman 11 2 55 0
Davies 5 3 5 0
Benkenstein 1 1 0 0
Chanderpaul 4 0 19 0
Full Bowling Card