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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Solid Somerset batsmen could claim the initiative at Taunton

Essex should go well at Lancashire

James Hildreth of Somerset is enjoying a prolific summer of runscoring
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Division One & Two matches
11am Saturday

The County Championship resumes with a top-of-the-table clash between Somerset and Nottinghamshire at Taunton, where bowlers struggled before the break for the One-Day Cup.

Somerset racked up 506 in their last four-day game but James Vince's second-innings double-century ensured Hampshire escaped with a draw.

The men from Taunton also passed 400 in their previous Championship match away to Lancashire and they chased down 360 to beat Hampshire in their final One-Day Cup South Group game.

Notts are top of the table despite picking up only seven batting points in five games – one fewer than Hampshire, who are second-bottom.

They posted modest first-innings scores of 222, 188, 300-9 declared and 302 in their first four matches of the summer before being bowled out for 133 and 138 in an innings defeat to Lancashire last time out.

Somerset bat deep – Craig Overton (80) and Dom Bess (92) put on 145 for the ninth wicket against Hampshire – and the hosts are worth backing to claim a first-innings lead.

Lancashire's win over Notts was their first four-day victory of the season and they may struggle to follow it up at home to champions Essex.

The visitors are boosted by the availability of Alastair Cook, who looked in good nick during England's drawn Test series against Pakistan, while Neil Wagner, Jamie Porter, Sam Cook and spinner Simon Harmer are a formidable bowling attack.

Essex thumped Kent on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the One-Day Cup and they have made a solid start to their Championship title defence.

Their opening game against Yorkshire was abandoned without a ball being bowled but they have won two of their four subsequent matches, including a home victory over Lancashire.

Scotland are 13-2 to win Sunday's ODI against England in Edinburgh. Eoin Morgan's visitors are missing injured all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes and bet365 make Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow, who are likely to open the batting for England, 6-1 joint-favourites to be man of the match.

Somerset to have a first-innings lead
2pts 5-6 Hills
2pts Evs Coral, Ladbrokes

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Notts are top of the table despite picking up only seven batting points in five games – one fewer than Hampshire, who are second-bottom
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