|LV= County Championship Division One, Edgbaston, Birmingham (day two):|
|Warwickshire 367: Hain 83, Rhodes 60, Sibley 56, Briggs 53*; Overton 5-88, Brooks 3-83|
|Somerset 239-5: Azhar Ali 60, Lammonby 59, Davies 48*|
|Somerset (4 pts) trail Warwickshire (5 pts) by 128 runs with five wickets remaining|
Warwickshire are in the box seat to win the 2021 County Championship after crucially claiming four batting bonus points at Edgbaston.
Just when it looked like the Bears might fall short, Danny Briggs hit 20 off the 110th over from Somerset’s Jack Brooks to claim that fourth point.
If they go on to claim maximum bowling points and beat Somerset, the Bears will win a first title since 2012.
With Somerset on 239-5, the Bears have 33 overs to take four wickets.
If they do not do that before the 110-over bonus-point cut-off, it will throw the door open again to Hampshire and Lancashire.
After resuming on 283-4, needing 67 off 14 overs to reach 350 and that fourth batting point, Craig Overton took 5-88 as the Bears lost five wickets for just 25 runs.
But last pair Briggs, who finished unbeaten with 53 not out off 31 balls, and Craig Miles put on a crucial 45 for the 10th wicket.
Somerset then overcame their recent string of batting failures to resist stubbornly.
Having been bowled out for first-innings totals of 107, 134 and 90 since the Championship restart, Azhar Ali (60), Tom Lammonby (59) and Steven Davies (48 not out) have so far all made important runs.
And former Worcestershire keeper Davies has so far put on 52 for the sixth wicket with Somerset’s Twenty20 skipper Lewis Gregory, keen to make amends for their failure in the final here on Saturday night.
But, on top of his batting heroics, Briggs, who had been presented with his county cap by England supremo Ashley Giles before play began, has already taken two wickets – and he may yet have another key morning-session role to play.
Also perhaps crucial is that, following a good night’s rest for Chris Woakes, Liam Norwell, Craig Miles and Tim Bresnan, the Bears are just three overs away from being able to take a second new ball.
Warwickshire all-rounder Danny Briggs:
“We had to take a punt in the last over and it worked. Hopefully we have done what we needed to do with the bat. And Craig Miles batted really well. Now we need to do what’s necessary with the ball.
“The pitch has got a little bit slower but we have got a new ball early in the morning which is going to be key, and hopefully we can get a decent first-innings lead and try to get ahead in the game.
“I was very proud to receive my cap. It is always a career highlight to receive a county cap. It is a great honour. Now hopefully I can do that justice and put in some key contributions.”
Somerset head coach Jason Kerr:
“We knew we had to take early wickets after a tough day when Warwickshire played really well. We stuck to our task well and got our rewards and took the six wickets this morning. Then we showed good resolve with the bat.
“We haven’t played particularly well recently but we established some partnerships. Lammonby and Azhar Ali played superbly up front and it was good for Steve Davies and Lewis Gregory to take us through to the close.
“We are incredibly disappointed that we have not got an opportunity to win the Championship this year. It’s all about trying to salvage some pride and set a benchmark for how we’re going to play our cricket next year. Whoever wins the title is going to have to earn it, that’s for sure.”