Somerset's Nick Compton: I could not have done any more
Nick Compton had a message for the England selectors after boosting his chances of a winter tour place with a timely century at Taunton.
“It’s out of my hands now. If I haven’t done enough to merit a chance, I’m not sure what more I could do,” said the country’s leading run-maker in first class cricket this summer.
Compton finished the second day of the LV= County Championship match with Worcestershire unbeaten on 114 in a Somerset first innings total of 451 for seven, which also featured 146 from Marcus Trescothick.
That took 29-year-old Compton’s run tally in first class games this summer to 1,453 at an average of 96.86 – 239 more than his nearest challenger in the national list, team-mate James Hildreth on 1,214, who has played in three more games.
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The former Middlesex player has been touted to replace Andrew Strauss at the top of England’s batting order in India this winter – but the strain of being a leading contender is starting to tell.
“It has been my dream to play Test cricket since I was ten years old,” said Compton. “Now I feel so close and the last few weeks have been tough.
“I feel like I deserve an opportunity, but I have no idea whether I will be selected.
“I’m the sort of person who thinks the worst and hopes for the best. That way you stay balanced.
“You try not to get too excited. I would love to walk out as an England player, but so would a lot of other people.”
The tour party to India is expected to be announced next Tuesday, so Compton faces a further agonising wait to see if his dream can come true.
There was no sign of his recent back problem yesterday. He faced 283 balls on a testing pitch, hitting ten fours and a six during his first hundred runs at the County Ground as Somerset built a first innings lead of 239 over their already-relegated opponents.
The hosts began the day on 142 for no wicket in reply to 212 and soon lost Arul Suppiah, caught and bowled by Moeen Ali for 75 off a checked drive, having added only two to his overnight score.
Trescothick had resumed on 66 and, after surviving some scares against Alan Richardson, who bowled beautifully without luck before lunch, moved to his century off 187 balls with 13 fours.
Lunch was taken at 227 for one and pitch inspector Bill Hughes, who had stayed on after Abdur Rehman’s nine-wicket first day haul, was able to abandon any thought that the pitch was unduly spinner-friendly.
Trescothick and Compton had taken the total to 307 when the Somerset skipper edged to second slip to give 37-year-old Richardson some belated reward for his efforts.
The former England opener’s innings had spanned 260 balls and, while not one of his most fluent, was hugely important for his team as they chase runners-up spot in the Championship for only the third time in their history, having never won it.
Richardson continued to bowl with great heart and gained thoroughly deserved lbw verdicts against James Hildreth (19) and Chris Jones (1) on his way to figures of three for 65 from 35 overs as Somerset moved to 343 for four.
Compton had moments of fortune, but again displayed his immense powers of concentration in moving to his 16th first class hundred off 248 deliveries, with nine fours and a straight six off Moeen.
With Somerset already 131 ahead when he walked to the crease, Peter Trego was able to enjoy himself with a rapid 45 off as many balls, with five fours and two sixes before being bowled by a slower ball from Chris Russell.
Craig Overton and Steve Snell fell cheaply to Moeen, but there was no disturbing Compton, who admitted he could never afford to relax against the consummate county professional Richardson or the spin of Moeen.
“I so wanted my first hundred at Taunton, ” he said. “It’s a tough pitch to bat on, but I like the challenge of playing on such surfaces.”
Just the sort of attitude England will need in India.