Northants batting coach Smith praises Vasconcelos effort on 'a difficult day for batting'

Northants batting coach Ben Smith heaped praise on opener Ricardo Vasconcelos after he made a classy 70 on 'a difficult day for batting' against Somerset at Taunton in LV= County Championship Division One.
It was a gloomy old day in Taunton where Northants made 137 for four on day one of their match with Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)It was a gloomy old day in Taunton where Northants made 137 for four on day one of their match with Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
It was a gloomy old day in Taunton where Northants made 137 for four on day one of their match with Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

There were several interruptions for rain and dark light, before proceedings were finally called to a halt at around 2.45pm, by which time Northants had slipped for 137 for four after being put into bat.

They had been sitting pretty at 116 for one just after lunch, but with the floodlights gradually seeming to take over the natural light, three quick wickets fell to allow the home side back into things.

The fourth wicket, that of Saif Zaib for a loose shot to a full delivery from Lewis Gregory, fell just two balls before the umpires decided enough was enough and took the players off for the final time on the day.

Lewis Gregory and his Somerset team-mates celebrate the dismissal of Saif Zaib (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)Lewis Gregory and his Somerset team-mates celebrate the dismissal of Saif Zaib (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Lewis Gregory and his Somerset team-mates celebrate the dismissal of Saif Zaib (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Smith admitted the stop-start nature of play hadn't helped the Northants batters, but he was delighted with the performance of Vasconcelos, who scored his first half-century of the summer, his 70 coming off 103 balls and including 13 fours.

The next best score was 20 from Hassan Azad, with stand-in skipper Sam Whiteman (15) and Zaib (4) going cheaply.

"It was a difficult day for batting, what with the numerous interruptions for the weather and players coming on and off," said Smith. "That makes concentration difficult and it was far from ideal.

"But you have to fall back on your processes and rely on mental strength as a batsmen and that what Ricardo Vasconcelos did.

Ricardo Vasconcelos made a classy 70 for Northants (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)Ricardo Vasconcelos made a classy 70 for Northants (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos made a classy 70 for Northants (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

"His career has encountered a few hurdles and things have been really tough for him during the early part of this season.

"But he showed today what he can do and it's good to see him with a smile on his face.

"I thought we started very well, but then the weather did us no favours.

"You can see that the wickets fell whenever we had just came back on after a rain-enforced break."

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr also picked out Vasconcelos for praise, but feels his side have bowled themselves into a good position in the game.

"I thought we bowled well, created opportunities and could have had a bit more luck. Things could have looked a lot different," said Kerr.

"But you have to give credit to Ricardo Vasconcelos, who batted very well.

"We passed the bat on many occasions and did well to fight back in the afternoon session.

"The position we have got ourselves into is a good one and we are always looking to dominate the opposition, but we cannot control the weather and we have no idea what is going to happen over the next three days.

"All we can do is try to capitalise in the morning and, if we can add another two wickets fairly quickly, then the scorecard will look very different."

Day two is due to start at 11am on Friday, but the forecast is for plenty more showers although there is the prospect of more sunshine as well.