Hampshire captain Sam Northeast’s fifth century of the season kept his side in their top-of-the table clash at Taunton.

But Jamie Overton claimed five wickets to help Somerset gain a narrow advantage on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match.

Plagued by back problems in recent seasons, the tall pace bowler announced himself back to his best with 5-66 from 21 overs.

Overton’s figures included a spell of 3-10 from six hostile overs at the River End with the second new ball, sending back Keith Barker (38), James Fuller (37) 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 Rahane and 82 with Rilee Rossouw, who contributed 44.

He said: “It was important we batted all day and I think we are back in the game after not bowling very well yesterday. Kyle Abbott’s late spell got us off the hook and Somerset will have been kicking themselves for not getting a really big total.

“The new ball was doing a bit and there was enough in it for the spinners to keep the batsmen honest. Facing Jamie Overton was a test because he is always a great competitor and bowled really well.

“I was pleased to get my third Chamionship century of the season, but disappointed to get out when I did. It was also a shock when Rahane and Rossouw got out because they looked to be batting so well, but Somerset don’t give you anything.

“Tom Alsop was struggling with his [hamstring] injury, but we thought it best to send him out at ten and hopefully he can help us push on in the morning.”

Hampshire began the day on 15-1 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 105-2.

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 off-spinner, 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 mid-wicket soon after completing his hundred.

It was 220-4 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 five when the second new ball was taken for the 81st over.

From 306-5, Hampshire then plunged to 314-8 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 the first division 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 (2-57), to leave the match intriguingly poised after two days of absorbing cricket.

Both days drew good crowds, with 3,000 on the first and more than 2,000 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.

Somerset pace bowler Jamie Overton said: “Today showed how positively the loan system can work because both Dom Bess and I went to other clubs this season to try and find our form. My time at Northants helped me discover my rhythm and I am sure Dom benefitted from his spell with Yorkshire.

“It was good to see him get a couple of wickets because we both know nothing beats playing for Somerset. At times today, like when I was bowling around the wicket to Sam Northeast, I was right up with my best pace.

“After so many injury problems it was great to see all the hard work put into recovery pay dividends.

“I think we are just ahead in the game. If we can take their last two wickets early in the morning we should get ourselves a decent first innings lead. The pitch wasn’t doing much for the seamers or spinners today, but it looks as though it might turn as the game moves on.”

Somerset first innings

TB Abell (c) c Weatherley b Abbott 82
Azhar Ali lbw b Abbott 12
JC Hildreth c Barker b Edwards 105
T Banton lbw b Fuller 79
GA Bartlett c sub b Edwards 68
SM Davies † lbw b Fuller 2
L Gregory c Weatherley b Abbott 25
DM Bess not out 2
J Overton lbw b Abbott 0
TD Groenewald lbw b Abbott 0
MJ Leach c sub b Abbott 5
Extras 28 (b 6, lb 7, nb 14, w 1)
TOTAL 408 all out (87.5 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Azhar Ali, 7.2 ov), 2-196 (Hildreth, 46.4), 3-237 (Abell, 54.4), 4-353 (Banton, 75.4), 5-361 (Davies, 77.2), 6-401 (Gregory, 83.3), 7-401 (Bartlett, 84.1), 8-402 (Overton, 85.4), 9-402 (Groenewald, 85.5), 10-408 (Leach, 87.5)
BOWLING: KHD Barker 17-1-52-0, KJ Abbott 17.5-4-84-6, FH Edwards 21-4-71-2, JK Fuller 10-1-51-2, MS Crane 12-0-88-0, JJ Weatherley 10-0-49-0    

Hampshire first innings
JJ Weatherley c †Davies b Overton 14
OC Soames c †Davies b Overton 0
AM Rahane c Gregory b Leach 55
SA Northeast (c) c Abell b Bess 101
RR Rossouw lbw b Bess 44
JK Fuller c †Davies b Overton 37
KHD Barker c †Davies b Overton 38
KJ Abbott c †Davies b Overton 5
MS Crane not out 11
TP Alsop † not out 6
Extras 18 (b 4, lb 12, nb 2)
TOTAL 329/8 (102 overs)
Yet to bat: FH Edwards
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Soames, 1.3 ov), 2-37 (Weatherley, 13.1), 3-138 (Rahane, 43.6), 4-220 (Northeast, 62.3), 5-225 (Rossouw, 64.2), 6-306 (Barker, 85.2), 7-311 (Fuller, 87.1), 8-314 (Abbott, 91.6)
BOWLING: L Gregory 19-5-58-0, J Overton 21-4-66-5, MJ Leach 32-7-89-1, TD Groenewald 7-0-34-0, TB Abell 3-1-8-0, DM Bess 20-5-58-2