Second day: Somerset need a further 270 runs in their first innings to avoid following on against Worcestershire
It's fair to say that Worcestershire - and Graeme Hick in particular - like batting against Somerset.
After running up their highest-ever County Championship score against the men from the West Country at New Road only last August - 681 for seven declared - Steve Rhodes' men cruised to another 600-plus total yesterday.
And, although Hick played his part by going to on to reach 182, his fourth century at Taunton (his highest number of Championship centuries on any ground outside the Midlands), he was overshadowed in the end by Ben Smith.
Admittedly, it was a lot harder work when the two sides last met, at New Road in April, when Worcestershire were bowled out for 161, then 138, in losing by 227 runs.
But normal service was resumed on a glorious summer's day in Somerset, which saw temperatures soar to 30 degrees. And it was hot stuff in the middle too.
On a day when they helped rewrite the county records again, Smith went on to hit only the third double century of his career, finishing on 203.
And that has put Worcestershire in the box seat to record only their second Championship win of the season.
Hick and Smith began the day needing just eight more runs to break the county fifth wicket record of 281 held by Alan Ormrod and Younis Ahmed for the past 27 summers. And they duly got there just three overs into the morning's play.
Smith dabbed a two into the gap where third man once used to be off Andy Caddick. And that perhaps partially made up for the disappointment the pair suffered together two years ago when they were so close to breaking the all-time county partner-ship record.
They put on 417 against Gloucestershire at New Road, only to be parted just 21 shy of the 438 all-time best set by Hick with Tom Moody. And they were again in for some disappointment yesterday.
Having put together a fourth-wicket stand of 330, Hick then suffered a shocking umpiring decision.
It is 18 years since he hit his famous 405 here, and he must have been starting to think in similarly monumental terms when he was adjudged out caught behind off Charl Willoughby.
That gave the South African his fourth wicket. But, judging by the rare show of dissent as Hick left the crease, it was not a popular decision in the visitors' dressing room. The conservative estimate was that there had been some two inches between bat and ball when it passed him.
Hick's loss effectively triggered something of a 'collapse', as Worcestershire lost their last seven wickets for just 118.
But Smith moved on serenely at the other end, beating his Worcester best of 187, set in that same stand with Hick two years ago, before then going on to reach his 200. But, just when he was within a run of matching his all-time high, 204 against Surrey at The Oval eight years ago, Smith was caught behind off Willoughby.
Having already persuaded Roger Sillence to loft a catch to deep midwicket on 20, it meant a final analysis of six for 104 to earn Willoughby his best figures in England.
The 37-year-old Caddick's by comparison, proved a bit tired, the former England paceman going for 0 for 145 from his 26 overs, while Peter Trego's were even worse.
Trego had enjoyed more luck keeping the score down against Worcestershire opposition, playing for Chippenham Town against Worcester City in a FA Cup replay at St George's Lane last November. Then he lost 1-0 after a string of fine saves, but this time his 18 overs went for 106.
That left Somerset needing 469 just to avoid following on and they started badly when Matthew Wood went cheaply, bowled by Zaheer Khan.
Aral Suppiah then shared a half-century stand with Wesley Durston for the second wicket before Sillence had him caught behind. James Hildreth then helped Durston add a further 69 for the third wicket before carving a drive to gully, where Gareth Batty took a typically stunning catch.
But it was hard work making inroads on such a belter of a track. And, with home captain Cameron White (33) keeping him company to the close, the Worcester Collegeeducated Durston ended the day on 89 not out, knowing a lot rests on his shoulders today.