Adil Rashid gave the England selectors an early nudge with a century for Yorkshire today as they retained the initiative in their opening LV= County Championship match at Taunton on day two.
The talented Bradfordian all-rounder hit 108 off 190 balls, his third century in as many four-day matches against Somerset, as the visitors reached a healthy first-innings total of 450, including five batting points.
They were, however, well-placed to bat Somerset out of the game at 402-5.
Liam Plunkett then took two of the three home wickets to fall as Somerset closed on 166-3 from 57 overs. They need 301 to avoid the follow-on tomorrow.
Rashid’s form with the bat is starting to turn heads. After last summer yielded 825 Championship runs with three hundreds, he has started this campaign in equally-impressive fashion.
If he is to build on his five one-day and five Twenty20 international appearances in 2009, it would seem all he has to do is get among the wickets with his leg-spin. He took 29 wickets at an average of 46.82 in 2013.
Yorkshire president Dickie Bird is present at Taunton and, encouragingly, he said during a first-day visit to the press box: “I watched him bowl in the nets this morning and he’s back to where he was a few years ago.”
Captain Andrew Gale shares a similarly optimistic view about Rashid’s future.
“If you look at Graeme Swann’s retirement, there’s no one really putting their hand up as a front-line spinner for England,” he said.
“The lad’s 26-years-old and he is just coming into his prime. He’s got over 300 first-class wickets and we’ve seen what he can do with the bat.
“There’s no reason why, during the next year or maybe two, he can’t represent England.”
Rashid and Andrew Hodd, who impressed for 55, continued their sixth-wicket partnership yesterday morning, taking it to 108 in 30 overs.
But that was when Somerset started their recovery, which was stunted by two Plunkett wickets after tea.
Craig Overton and Johann Myburgh took two wickets apiece as Yorkshire were bowled out just after lunch before Chris Jones (75) and Nick Compton shared 91 for the second wicket to take Somerset to 127-1 after tea.
Plunkett then bowled Compton and had Jones caught at leg slip by Alex Lees.
“I’m not looking too much into the England stuff at the moment,” admitted Rashid, who said Yorkshire are happy with their position in the match.
“Hopefully I can have another one or two good seasons with Yorkshire with the bat and ball and then maybe it could get looked into.”