County Championship Division One - day one (close)

Somerset 326 v Nottinghamshire

STEVE Davies and Dom Bess shared a vital century stand to rescue Somerset from a precarious position on the first day of their County Championship match against Nottinghamshire in Taunton.

Having come together at 145-6, the pair added 128 for the seventh wicket either side of tea to lay the foundations for a respectable total which had looked a long way off.

When they won the toss and opted to bat in bright sunshine, an unchanged Somerset side may have envisaged a first day similar to last weekend’s against Hampshire when they scored 408 inside 88 overs.

This was a feeling possibly heightened by their visitors’ lowly position in the Division One table coming into the match, but a Notts side including three changes from their thumping defeat against Essex made a lively start with the ball.

Luke Wood, on as first change, had Azhar Ali (10) caught at second slip from his first ball and the early introduction of Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin accounted for captain Tom Abell (17), expertly held by a diving Ben Slater at short leg.

James Hildreth achieved two notable milestones in his innings, firstly moving past Peter Roebuck into fifth place in Somerset’s all-time list of run scorers.

Later, he passed 17,000 First Class runs but fell six runs shy of what would have been a 77th half-century, driving loosely to slip off Jake Ball as Somerset reached lunch at 111-3.

Then came a wobble, as George Bartlett (18) was bowled by Wood before Tom Banton (25), who looked somewhat uncomfortable against Ashwin, fell hit wicket after appearing to catch his stumps with his bat while trying to prevent the ball rolling back onto the stumps.

The soft dismissal of Lewis Gregory (9), who chipped Ball to a diving Ashwin at mid-on, left Somerset 145-6 but a determined stand between Dom Bess and Steve Davies ensured there was no further damage before tea.

Consecutive boundaries from Davies in the first over after the interval brought the hosts their first batting point and before long the wicketkeeper reached a vital half-century from 113 balls - an innings that was much-needed for both team and player.

Tom Banton's emergence and Davies' seasonal average of 25 could have put his place under threat, but the 33-year-old showed the value of his experience to dig his side out of a hole.

Bess, too, provided a reminder as to just how valuable a cricketer he is. He played sensibly and accumulated quietly but effectively, reaching a half century of his own as the partnership went into three figures.

Wood, the pick of the visiting attack, took the new ball and removed both set batsmen - Bess (51) edging to slip and Davies (74) missing a straight one to be trapped leg before - but Jamie Overton and Tim Groenewald successfully saw Somerset past 300 to claim a third batting point (in this title race, every one matters).

Overton looked in fine touch, with a slog-swept six and two exquisitely driven fours the highlights as he breezed to 34, but an edge to first slip off Luke Fletcher meant he failed to see out the day.

Neither did Somerset, as Jack Leach fell lbw to Ashwin (3-93) for a single to bring the day to a close.

How good a total this turns out to be will, of course, depend on how Notts fare tomorrow - but the sterling efforts of Davies and Bess have given the hosts' in-form attack something to bowl at.