ESSEX’S Simon Harmer is hoping to take advantage of Taunton’s reputation as a spinners’ paradise over the next four days.

Somerset notoriously play to their strengths by preparing wickets that suit their bowlers, while Essex bowled just 154.4 overs of ‘non-seam’ last season.

And Harmer, 28, is backing Essex to build on their opening day draw with Lancashire when they get underway.

“English conditions traditionally aid seamers a lot more than they do spinners,” he said. “Teams look to pack their teams with seamers as opposed to having a specialist spinner; they’d rather make do with a part-time spinner. And I think it is vital in four-day cricket that you have a specialist spinner.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the Taunton wicket and how much it turns. But it is quite early in the season so I’m not sure how much turn there is going to be.

“Somerset are looking to play a different brand of cricket, so it will be interesting to see if they go about their business the same way they did last season.

“I was very encouraged by the way the wicket deteriorated and how dry it was,” said Harmer of the surface at Chelmsford. “But I’m pretty aware that it’s not always going to be like that – we’ve been spoiled by the weather.”

And he is hoping the sun is shining one again today, as he looks to use his trademark sunglasses to his advantage.

“I find the light in England quite a lot brighter than at home,” he said. “Plus, the batsmen can’t see your eyes; it’s a bit of poker face.”

>Alastair Cook and Ashar Zaidi come into the matchday squad.