THERE is nothing unusual about a team being put to the sword by a tall left-hander batting at Taunton.
Marcus Trescothick has been doing it for years, not least to Yorkshire, against whom he averages 54 in first-class cricket at the County Ground, including four centuries and six 50s.
But as 20 wickets fell on Saturday it was another tall left-hander who inflicted damage on a visiting side.
Matt Renshaw – born in Middlesbrough – scored 112 in the first innings, all but one of his runs coming before lunch after the match finally began promptly on day two after the opening day had been lost to rain.
Renshaw, 22, is primarily known in Yorkshire for having played cricket in his younger days with Joe Root while their fathers represented Sheffield Collegiate.
While the fathers opened the batting, the youngsters practised their skills beyond the boundary, the links between the families extending when Root’s younger brother, Billy, stayed with the Renshaws two years ago while playing grade cricket in Queensland.
Since those far-off days at Abbeydale Park, Renshaw has gone on to play 11 Tests, the last of them after being recalled in the wake of “sandpaper-gate”.
Renshaw replaced Cameron Bancroft, who was at the heart of the ball-tampering affair, before also replacing him as Somerset’s overseas player when the club cancelled his contract after the controversy.
On the evidence so far, it is just as well that they did, Renshaw following up his hundred on debut against Worcestershire l with another in his second game – only the third Somerset player to achieve that feat after Ricky Ponting and Alviro Petersen.
His first 52 runs were all in boundaries (10 fours and two sixes), equalling the second-highest score containing only boundaries in first-class cricket, Thilina Kandamby’s 52 for Sri Lankans against Zimbabwe A at Harare in 2004 also containing 10 fours and two sixes.
Mark Pettini holds the outright record with 114 (12 fours and 11 sixes) for Essex against Leicestershire at Grace Road in 2006 although the opposition served up declaration bowling.
Yorkshire’s bowling was somewhat more probing, although Renshaw made it look ordinary at times with pulls and drives of blistering ferocity.
From 145-1 in the 27th over, however, Somerset collapsed to 216 all-out as Jack Brooks took 5-57 and Ben Coad 3-67.
Renshaw fell straight after lunch when he flashed at Brooks and was caught behind, his 112 comprising 99 balls and including 16 fours and four sixes.
Remarkably, he got off the mark with a six, reached 50 with a six and also brought up his hundred with a six, surely some sort of record.
After Yorkshire were blown away for 96 in reply, Harry Brook top-scoring with 32 as the visitors collapsed from 51-2 to 64-8 at one stage, Renshaw was batting again before stumps, contributing four to a total of 6-0.