Yorkshire are staring down the barrel after a chastening second day of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton.
The White Rose suffered with bat and ball against a side who are on course for their maiden four-day title.
It was arguably Yorkshire’s worst day of an encouraging Division One season so far.
They started on 70-3 in reply to a first-innings 199, only to crumble to 103 all out, losing their last six wickets for just 17 runs inside 35 minutes.
Somerset then recovered from 4-2 in their second innings to close at 269-5 from 68 overs, a lead of 365.
Yorkshire’s problems were exacerbated by the loss of new ball seamer Ben Coad through illness. He was unable to bat at the end of the first innings and remained off the field, leaving Steve Patterson a bowling option light.
Coad’s participation in the rest of the fixture is in doubt.
Opening batsman Will Fraine was also unable to take the field having suffered a knee injury in the warm-ups, but he is expected to bat again.
The morning session was in stark contrast to the afternoon and evening.
Before lunch, wickets looked like falling almost every ball, with Yorkshire undone chiefly by three for left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe.
Eight wickets fell in all, four of them to spin on a pitch which is providing its chief danger to batsmen through turn and bounce.
The afternoon proved to be the quietest session of the match so far, with Somerset captain Tom Abell completing partnerships of 117 and 70 for the third and fourth wickets with James Hildreth and Tom Banton as the home lead moved to the cusp of 300.
Van der Merwe had nightwatchman Steve Patterson bowled off an under edge as he tried to cut, Jonny Tattersall caught at second slip and Keshav Maharaj caught and bowled, the latter to wrap up Yorkshire’s innings.
Lewis Gregory had Tom Kohler-Cadmore caught at third slip before Josh Davey struck twice in an over, trapping Harry Brook lbw and getting Tim Bresnan caught at second slip.
Maharaj then opened the bowling with his left-arm spin and struck in the third over when Indian Murali Vijay was lbw sweeping before Steve Davies chipped Patterson to cover in the fourth, leaving the score at 4-2 and the home lead at 100.
Unfortunately, Abell led Somerset’s strong response to add 62 to his first-innings 66, with Hildreth adding 58 and highly-rated youngster Tom Banton, a tall imposing batsman with a touch of Kevin Pietersen about him, 43.
Banton even reverse swept Maharaj for six two balls before falling caught at slip off the final ball of the afternoon (191-4 after 49 overs). The South African conceded five sixes in his 28 overs.
Earlier, Hildreth had clipped Adam Lyth’s off-spin to Brook at short-leg.
Banton was the first of two quick wickets either side of tea, with Bresnan trapping Abell lbw as the score fell to 191-5 in the 52nd over of the innings – the third of the evening.
But it was only brief respite as sixth-wicket pair George Bartlett and Gregory counter-attacked to share an unbroken 78.
Bad light meant the loss of the day’s last 13 overs, and Bartlett and Gregory will begin day three on 39 and 38.
What they said…
Yorkshire batting coach Paul Grayson said: “It was a tough day at the office for us. Last night we felt we were in quite a decent position, but this morning Somerset bowled beautifully in bowler-friendly conditions and after losing a couple of early wickets we couldn’t stop them.
“We have tended to bat better in the second innings this season, so hopefully we can salvage some pride and play a bit better. Sometimes you have to give the opposition credit and Somerset caught well and bowled very skilfully.
“When the lights have been on and it has been a bit gloomy the ball has spun and seamed a lot. Maybe the pitch is flattening out a bit and when the sun is out batting seems easier, so let’s hope it’s a cracking day at Taunton tomorrow.
“Will Fraine will hopefully bat at some stage, but he won’t be opening, having been off the field today. Ben Coad is struggling and seeking some medical advice at the moment to see where he is at.”
Somerset skipper Tom Abell said: “My role in both innings was to bat for as long as I could and let the other lads play around me. I think the game was in the balance overnight, but now we have taken control.
“It’s basically a good pitch, but a bit slow which makes it difficult to score. There is spin there, but when you get a partnership going things feel easier.
“Now we are on the front foot in the game and can put our foot down. As a batting group, we bat deep and we will be hoping to add more runs tomorrow so we can really apply pressure in the final innings.
“James Hildreth was fantastic today, coming in at four for two. He was positive from the start and helped us build on the excellent efforts of our bowlers at the start of the day.”