Ben Green set for Somerset four-day debut as title-race hots up

Ben Green batting for Devon

By Richard Walsh

BEN Green is set to make his Specsavers County Championship debut for Somerset in the match against Lancashire at Taunton, starting tomorrow (Tues).

The 20-year-old Devonian all-rounder will take over from Eddie Byrom as opening batting partner for Marcus Trescothick following a double century in the second XI against Yorkshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground last week.

Former England Under-19 player Green, also a useful seam bowler, made three appearances for Somerset in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup.

Now, with the county looking to chase down leaders Surrey and claim a first ever Championship title, the Exeter-born youngster has the chance to launch a career in first class cricket.

Head coach Jason Kerr said: “Ben is in excellent form with the bat and deserves his opportunity.  He has been opening for us regularly in second XI cricket this season.

“Eddie Byrom has not quite been delivering in recent games and the time is right to give Ben a chance.”

Somerset go into the Lancashire game on the back of three consecutive Championship victories. And, while Surrey still have a 32-point lead at the top of the First Division with four rounds of matches left, Kerr has not given up hope of catching them.

“There are a lot of points still to play for and Surrey still have to come to Taunton,” he said. “All we can do is keep on winning and if we play like we did at Headingley last week there will be no complaints.”

The 229-run victory over Yorkshire saw skipper Tom Abell make an unbeaten hundred, while Lewis Gregory contributed two half-centuries and six wickets.

Gregory still has to be careful not to put too much stress on his back after surgery last winter, but is expected to face Lancashire.

There is a doubt over off-spinner Dom Bess because of a shoulder injury. Having been left out against Yorkshire, he would be in line for a recall on a Taunton pitch likely to turn.

Roelof van der Merwe has been added to the squad as cover and Somerset will assess the wicket before finalising a line-up.

Jamie Overton claimed four wickets in the second innings against Yorkshire and Kerr is delighted to see his fastest bowler with confidence high after two seasons wrecked by injury.

He said: “Jamie was not at his best in the first innings at Headingley, but in the second he worked up real pace on a pretty slow surface.

“That gives us an extra weapon when looking to bowl sides out.”