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    Essex hit back on 20-wicket day with Jamie Porter and Sam Cook
Essex hit back on 20-wicket day with Jamie Porter and Sam Cook
Sam Cook claimed five wickets as Essex hit back against Somerset. Source: Getty Images

Essex hit back on 20-wicket day with Jamie Porter and Sam Cook

Twenty wickets fell, all to seam bowling, on an action-packed opening day of Somerset's Vitality County Championship First Division match against Essex at Taunton.

Michael Pretorius led the way for the hosts with four for 36 as Essex were bowled out for 156 after losing the toss on an overcast morning. There were two wickets apiece for Craig Overton and Jake Ball on a green pitch.

Only Tom Westley (43) and Harry Duke (25) offered much resistance. Somerset were then bowled out for 128 in reply, with Jamie Porter (five for 37) and Sam Cook (five for 38) doing all the damage and Tom Lammonby battling his way to 38.

With one over to spare at the end of the day, Essex made six not out, Cook opening with Dean Elgar, who did not face a ball.

The carnage began with Essex on 14 when Elgar was lbw to Josh Davey, who fell across his stumps. Four runs later, Nick Browne was bowled off an inside edge by Overton and it was 28 for three when Jordan Cox fell to the same bowler, Lammonby taking a sharp catch at second slip.

It was the start of some excellent fielding by Somerset. Matt Critchley was caught by Sean Dickson at third slip off Pretorius to make it 45 for four in the 14th over.

Noah Thain contributed 14 before being run out by a brilliant low catch by Overton at the second slip off Ball and Essex was in trouble at lunch on 97 for five.

Duke brought up the hundred with a superb extra-cover drive for four off Lewis Gregory and also drove Overton for a boundary before the sixth wicket fell for 111.

Westley had looked more comfortable than most as he faced 84 balls and hit six fours before he allowed a full delivery from Gregory to sneak between the bat and the pad on to his stumps.

Simon Harmer helped Duke to 132 before he drove a wide delivery from Pretorius and edged to wicketkeeper James Rew. With 13 on the board, Duke's watchful 79-ball innings ended in a similar fashion, caught behind off a Pretorius delivery.

Cook fell for a duck, Rew dived to his right to take a fine low catch, and the innings ended with Shane Snater taking a skying catch to give Pretorius his fourth scalp.

Tea was called and Essex did not take long to hit back when, with the eighth ball of Somerset's innings, Matt Renshaw was caught at mid-off taking a leading edge to a delivery from Cook.

Dickson hit a defiant six over wide long-on off Cook. But when application was required, he fell to another attacking shot, caught at second slip off a loose drive from Porter.

Andy Umeed also looked to attack, pulling a six over square leg off Porter and repeating the dose off Snater, while Lammonby was more orthodox.

It was a defensive shot that cost Umeed his wicket when he edged Cook to Harmer at second slip for 31 in a total of 53. Tom Banton had made just four when another edge to Cook at third slip cost him his wicket.

Somerset was in a hole at 66 for five when Rew, also on four, was trapped lbw by Porter. Skipper Gregory then survived a huge appeal for a catch behind off the very next ball.

Cook and Porter combined to bowl 23 of the first 28 overs of the innings, with Cook taking three for 23 from 11 overs and Porter two for 24 from 12 overs. After a brief rest, both returned and Porter added Gregory to his victims, lbw on the back foot, playing across the line.

Lammonby had batted resolutely for 116 balls when he was caught at first slip driving to give Porter a five-for. Overton played a few lusty shots before edging Porter to third slip for the 17th wicket of the day. Somerset was still trailing on 35.

Pretorius did the same to Cook, adding to the series of poor shots that had cost both wickets and when Ball was caught behind, Cook was celebrating his fifth wicket.

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