Who is Dominic Bess? The rundown on England's new spinner
Last Updated: 16/05/18 10:12am
For the second successive Test, England will have a Somerset spinner making his debut.
Jack Leach played in England's last Test of the winter, taking 2-113 against New Zealand in Christchurch, but a broken thumb sustained while with his county has opened the door for team-mate Dominic Bess to make his England debut in the first Test of the summer against Pakistan.
The 20-year-old off-spinner has formed a devastating partnership with Leach at Somerset for the last two summers, being rewarded with a call-up to the squad for the Lord's Test starting on May 24.
But what do we know of England's new spinner? Here we take a look at his credentials…
Who is Dominic Bess?
- Full name: Dominic Mark Bess
- Age: 20
- Born: Sidmouth, Devon
- Twitter: @DomBess99
Bess is from Sidmouth in Devon. A keen rugby player in his youth, his focus turned to cricket and Somerset when he signed a scholarship contract with the county, having joined the club's academy when he was 16. In explaining how he came to be an offspinner, Bess once remarked: "I was always a little porker when I was younger, so I never took the long run-up. I always took five or six steps and just trotted in."
Bess' sense of humour was once again evident with his reaction to his first ever England call up, telling Sky Sports News: "I was actually in IKEA with my girlfriend. I've just got a new house so we were looking for some sofas and I was having an argument with my missus! Ed Smith [England national selector] phoned me and it was an amazing moment. I couldn't quite believe it."
Bess spent the 2015-16 winter at former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann's cricket academy in Adelaide.
Bess enjoyed a dream start to his Somerset career. On his County Championship debut in late 2016, he took 6-28 in the first innings against Warwickshire - including the wickets of former England pair Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell off successive balls - and followed that up with a further two strikes in the second innings and a five-for in the final game of the season against Nottinghamshire as Somerset briefly went top, before being overhauled by Middlesex for the title.
Bess recorded the best figures by a Somerset championship debutant since Tony Pearson took 7-63 against Worcestershire in 1961.
As Somerset struggled to reach such heights in 2017, battling against relegation, Bess still proved a formidable opponent for batsmen, claiming 36 wickets in nine games at an average of 23.41 - including three five-fors and a 10-wicket match haul against Hampshire. Things have proven trickier at the start of this season, Bess claiming only one wicket in his two seamer-dominated games so far.
He can bat, too
While Bess hasn't yet made a telling impression with the ball this year, he certainly has done with the bat. Included in an MCC XI in the traditional county season curtain-raiser against defending champions Essex, Bess - batting at nine - blasted 107 from only 106 balls for his maiden first-class ton. He has since followed that up with a 118-ball 92 in Somerset's draw with Hampshire this week. Bess averages a handy 25.38 in 16 first-class matches.
Bess has previously represented England under-19s, and was called up by England Lions for the first time last summer, against the touring South Africa A team, although he didn't feature in the series. Picked again for the Lions' winter tours of Australia and the West Indies, he took 5-88 when he finally made his debut, against West Indies A in the final unofficial Test in Antigua, outbowling his Somerset partner Leach in the second innings to finish with 5-88.
Bess has faced Pakistan before. On his first-class debut for Somerset in July 2016, he went wicketless, conceding 128 runs in a tour match against them.
What they said?
Sky Sports Cricket's Rob Key: "An exciting selection. It's good to see England take a flier on a young spinner. He has played a bit for the Lions, and has an excellent record in first-class cricket - though people will say he does that down in Taunton, on real turners - with 63 wickets in 16 games.
"He would have been away with the Lions, and the coaches would have looked at him and thought this lad has something about him, someone you can throw in at a young age. Get him in now, as when you get to Sri Lanka in the winter, you're going to have to find out about these people."
England national selector, Ed Smith: "Dom has had a terrific start to his first-class career, not only at Somerset but when he's been given the opportunity to play in a representative match - for the MCC or a North v South fixture - he has grabbed it.
"That says a lot about his character and personality. The opportunity was there, with the disappointment for Jack Leach [out through injury], to look at a young, exciting spinner and we took it."