JACK Leach became the first Somerset Cricket club spinner to represent England since Ian Blackwell back in 2006 when he was selected for the second test against New Zealand at the relatively new Hagley Oval, Canterbury.
After skipper Joe Root lost the toss, England were invited to bat in swing-friendly conditions. They slipped to 94 for 5 and, following the 58 all out horror show in the first test, the omens looked bad.
But Jonny Bairstow found some form and eventually found an ally in pace bowler Mark Wood who struck a maiden test half century (52) as the pair took the score up to 259 for 8 before Wood was felled.
Bairstow was then joined by Leach (26), the 684th player to represent his country at test level and the pair added a further 31 in an unbroken ninth wicket stand with Bairstow on 97 and Leach a gritty 10 off 33 balls as England reached stumps on day one on 290 for 8.
Earlier, before play got under way, Taunton-born Leach received his cherished cap from Graeme Swann arguably England’s best spinner of recent times.
Many would argue that having taken 116 first wickets in the last two seasons Leach’s debut for his country is long overdue. There appears little sign that the Hagley Oval track will give him too much assistance once the time comes for him to demonstrate his classical left arm action, lets hope he’s given more opportunities than Blackwell.
Whilst his Somerset team mate and spin twin Jack Leach was making his full England test debut down in New Zealand, Dom Bess was named Man-of-the-Match in MCC’s’ innings and 34-run win over reigning County Champions in the 2018 season’s showpiece curtain raiser in Barbados.
After striking his maiden first class hundred with the bat, Bess (20) carried on his fine form with the ball taking 6 for 51 in the Essex second innings to take his match figures to 8 for 108.