Hampshire 329 for 8 (Northeast 101, Rahane 55, J Overton 5-66) trail Somerset 408 (Hildreth 105, Abell 82, Banton 79, Bartlett 68, Abbott 6-84) by 79 runs
Jamie Overton claimed five wickets to help Somerset gain a narrow advantage on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Hampshire at Taunton. Plagued by back problems in recent seasons, the tall pace bowler announced himself back to his best with 5 for 66 from 21 overs as the visitors closed on 329 for 8, led by a century from Sam Northeast.
Overton's figures included a spell of 3 for 10 from six hostile overs at the River End with the second new ball, sending back Keith Barker, James Fuller and Kyle Abbott to tilt the contest Somerset's way.
Earlier, Northeast had hit a chanceless century off 167 balls, with 13 fours and a six, sharing stands of 101 with Ajinkya Rahane and 82 with Rilee Rossouw, who contributed 44.
Hampshire began the day on 15 for 1 in reply to 408 and soon lost Joe Weatherley, caught behind down the leg side off Overton for 14. But, with the pitch offering little in terms of seam movement or spin, it was soon clear that Somerset would need to work hard for their wickets.
By lunch Northeast and Rahane had comfortably taken the total to 105 for 2. The afternoon session saw both reach half-centuries, Northeast off 91 balls, with seven fours, and Rahane off 103 deliveries, with eight boundaries.
Jack Leach broke the partnership with his left-arm spin, Rahane edging a drive to Lewis Gregory at slip. But it did little to check Hampshire's momentum as the aggressive Rossouw joined an increasingly confident Northeast. The Hampshire captain pulled Overton over fine leg for six before moving to three figures and Rossouw also cleared the rope, lofting Dom Bess back over his head.
Somerset's young offspinner, who enjoyed a meteoric rise to England's Test team, was making his first Championship appearance of the season for the club, having been on loan at Yorkshire. Bess was understandably delighted when claiming the wicket of Northeast, who drove a catch to short midwicket soon after completing his hundred.
It was 220 for 4 and in his next over, with five runs added, Bess struck again, pinning Rossouw lbw on the back foot. Barker and Fuller then batted with assurance to take the total to 288 for 5 when the second new ball was taken for the 81st over.
From 306 for 5, Hampshire then plunged to 314 for 8 as wicketkeeper Steve Davies took three catches in quick succession off Overton, one of them down the leg side to dismiss Fuller. All Overton's victims were caught by Davies, who now boasts the most dismissals by a keeper in Division One of the Championship this season with 34.
With his team trailing by 94 runs, Tom Alsop, who injured a hamstring wicketkeeping on the first morning, limped out with Ollie Soames acting as his runner. In glorious sunshine, Alsop and Mason Crane batted out the day against Leach and Bess, who ended with 2 for 57 from 17 overs, to leave the match intriguingly poised after two days of absorbing cricket.
Both days drew good crowds, with 3000 on the first and more than 2000 on the second. Somerset supporters will be the happier, with Hampshire due to bat last on a pitch expected to turn more as the match progresses.