At the end of another day of absorbing cricket at Edgbaston, Hampshire reduced Warwickshire to 184-7 – still 170 behind their own first innings score. Kyle Abbott starred for the visitors with figures of 4-43 in 17 overs of sustained accuracy.
Without injured batting stalwarts Ian Bell and Sam Hain, Warwickshire’s young batting hopefuls wilted in the face of Abbott’s hostility, which was backed up by the accurate left arm spin of Liam Dawson and the slingy pace of Fidel Edwards.
Warwickshire opener Dom Sibley stood alone in defiance of the Hampshire attack. On 95 not out, he is close to a Warwickshire record of six hundreds in consecutive first class matches (five for Warwickshire and one for MCC). A quarter of a century ago, Brian Lara scored five hundreds in a row. Unlike Sibley, his were in consecutive innings.
Just as importantly, Sibley represents Warwickshire’s best hope of avoiding the follow-on.
At the start of the day, Hampshire added 63 runs to their overnight score, before being bowled out for 354. Jeetan Patel wheeled away from the Birmingham end to take all four wickets to fall, finishing with 6-94.
Tom Alsop survived a stumping chance off Patel before reaching a career best 150. It took an excellent catch by Craig Miles, running back at deep mid-off, to send Alsop on his way. He batted for 317 balls and hit 23 fours. It was an invaluable effort for his team.
Sibley and Will Rhodes survived a fair few early alarms against some well-directed bowling from Kyle Abbott and Fidel Edwards. With almost 800 first-class wickets and nearly 70 Test matches between them, the two Kolpak players presented a genuine challenge to the Warwickshire openers. In between some playing and missing and a few lbw appeals, they played some pleasing strokes.
Rhodes got a nasty lifting delivery from Abbott that he fended off to second slip to be caught by Joe Weatherley.
19 year old Rob Yates launched his first-class career with a delightful cover-driven boundary. In his brief stay, he looked to have a sound technique and a good temperament but, having survived the pressures of the pace attack, he fell in Liam Dawson’s first over. He failed to get to the pitch of a good length delivery that turned more than he (and maybe Dawson too) expected.
Jeetan Patel, who has spent years bowling into the rough created by Keith Barker’s footmarks, probably understood only too well what Dawson was doing.
Dom Sibley did little during the Bears’ fruitless 50 over campaign, but the first-class game is another matter for him. He reached his fifty off 124 balls with four boundaries, and by the close had added five more boundaries and was poised within five runs of that sixth hundred.
Adam Hose, returning from injury, looked to be out of touch and needing time in the middle. It was not too much of a surprise when, in the last over before tea, an Edwards yorker careered into his stumps.
Another of Warwickshire’s young hopeful’s, Liam Banks, hung on for 57 balls before he shouldered arms to the wrong ball from Abbott and departed lbw for 23. Very next ball, Tim Ambrose was also trapped in front.
Craig Miles lasted for a while with Sibley, but he fended a lifting ball from Edwards to short leg to leave Sibley looking for the tail to support him tomorrow.