London: South Africa seamer Vernon Philander wasted little time in justifying Somerset's decision to sign him for the early part of the English season, taking just three balls to grab a wicket on Thursday. Philander had a wicket in his first over of a rain delayed opening day of the English County Championship season and by stumps had taken 3 for 21 in 12 overs as Somerset reduced Middlesex to 118 for 4 in a First Division clash at Taunton.
Fortunately for the visitors, former Kent batsman Joe Denly was 64 not out on his Middlesex debut. Somerset are desperate to win a maiden Championship title after being edged out by Lancashire last term and the recruitment of Philander looks like it could give them a valuable early season boost.
The 26-year-old, who has taken an impressive 51 wickets in just seven Tests, had Sam Robson caught behind for a duck and then dismissed Dawid Malan, lbw for 12.
All the while Philander was proving difficult to get away and Middlesex captain Neil Dexter became his third wicket of the innings, bowled for eight off a ball that kept low.