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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 17:23 UK

Thomas burst puts Somerset on top

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Hove:
16-19 June 2009 (Play begins 1100 BST)
CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY TWO: Somerset 367 and 52-1, Sussex 197 (Somerset 3pts, Sussex 3 pts)



Alfonso Thomas
Alfonso Thomas produced his best Championship figures in over a year

Somerset's South Africa-born seamer Alfonso Thomas took five wickets to put his side on top against Sussex at Hove.

The 32-year-old from Cape Town, a Kolpak signing in 2008 after a brief stint with Warwickshire, took 5-53 in 20 overs to bowl Sussex out for 197.

In reply to Somserset's 367, that earned the visitors a substantial lead.

And, after Justin Langer opted not to enforce the follow on, that was extended to 222 when they reached 52-1 in their second innings by the close.

Somerset are now in a strong position to secure their second successive Championship win.

And indications that it was going to be their day came at the start of play when last-wicket pair Peter Trego and Charl Willoughby rounded off their first innings by smashing 53 in just 5.2 overs.

Trego, whose previous highest score this season was 23, bludgeoned 42 off 19 deliveries, while last man Willoughby, who had been dropped on nought, gave him good support in an entertaining stand of 69.

It only ended when Willoughby was run out, leaving Trego unbeaten on 92 from 107 balls - his best Championship knock in two seasons.

Thomas then wrecked Sussex's top order with a spell of three wickets for four runs in just 12 balls.

He trapped Chris Nash, then the badly out-of-form Murray Goodwin for a third-ball duck, both leg before. And when skipper Mike Yardy drove straight to Langer at short mid on, Sussex were 9-3.

Matt Prior (59) led a recovery in a stand of 95 for the fourth wicket with Ed Joyce (45). And there was another brief fightback when Dwayne Smith and Andrew Hodd put on 35 for the seventh wicket.

But Smith became leg spinner Max Waller's maiden first-class victim when he was hit on the back leg sweeping in the last over before tea. And the last three wickets fell in nine balls at the start of the final session.

First innings centurion Marcus Trescothick was caught off a top edge when Somerset batted again. But, with Arul Suppiah (24 not out) and James Hildreth (17 not out) well set, Sussex are firmly on the back foot.



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