Vitality County Championship – Warwickshire v Hampshire Day Three

Vitality County Championship – Warwickshire v Hampshire Day Three

Liam Dawson

Hampshire go into the last day of their clash with Warwickshire at Edgbaston needing to take nine more wickets, whilst the Bears require a highly unlikely 458 more runs to win. 

Hampshire had begun the day in a strong position,  132 ahead with eight second innings wickets in hand. With the sun shining and the bowlers getting only limited help from the pitch, the batters’ task was clear – bat Warwickshire out of the game and aim for a declaration late in the day to give their bowlers plenty of time to bowl the Bears out. James Vince and Liam Dawson were able to deliver the plan to perfection, both scoring hundreds in a huge stand together.

Hampshire’s day got off to a good start.  Chris Woakes was relatively innocuous and Olly Hannon-Dalby laboured in vain. Felix Organ did edge Ed Barnard at catchable height to second slip but there was no-one there. 46 largely untroubled runs came in the first hour, but when Danny Briggs came on, Nick Gubbins edged his first ball to slip where Will Rhodes took a neat catch. Gubbins had lasted 151 balls for his 47 and it was Briggs’ 350th first class wicket in his 147th match.

Vince had clearly set himself the task of adding some urgency to the proceedings and forthwith struck Briggs for a leg side six.  Organ was going along quite nicely until he forced Olly Hannon-Dalby off the back foot and was brilliantly caught by sub fielder Che Simmons for 31.  Ben Brown didn’t last long, falling lbw to Hannon-Dalby.  Even so, at lunch, Hampshire were well on top at 196-5, 240 ahead with 66 overs left in the day.

After lunch, Vince reached his 50 off 64 balls and was well supported by Dawson. Briggs was steady but hardly turned a ball.  It was the great Wilfred Rhodes who once said: “If they thinks I’m turning it, then I am”, but the problem for Briggs was that the batters seemed to know he wasn’t.

It was a tough afternoon for the Warwickshire bowlers as Vince proceeded smoothly to a hundred that seemed inevitable long before he reached it.  The second new ball was only a minor inconvenience, Vince reaching his milestone off 125 balls with five fours and three sixes.  It was his 29th first class hundred.

The next century wasn’t Dawson’s but belonged to Briggs – 100 runs conceded in 24 overs after which Bears’ captain Alex Davies took pity on him and removed him from the firing line.  In the next over, the 200 stand came up and then Dawson did indeed reach three figures for the 15th time in first-class matches. The 400 came up as the milestones arrived almost too quickly to keep pace.  Next came Vince’s 150 off 182 balls and then the 250 stand.

Dawson finally fell to a tough catch at deep mid wicket off Dan Mousley.  He had scored 120 off 157 balls with nine fours and two sixes, with the stand worth 255 off 316 balls.

The only unanswered questions were how much of a lead Hampshire would want before declaring and how many overs Warwickshire would need to survive to achieve a draw. The answers came when Vince declared on 453-6.  His 166 came off 197 balls with 13 fours and three sixes and he left Warwickshire to score a mere 498 to win off a total of 108 overs – 12 in the rest of the day and 96 tomorrow.  Of the Warwickshire bowlers, only the ever-reliable Hannon-Dalby could take any pride in his figures with 3-65 off 18 overs.

Attempting to survive the 12 overs left of the day, Warwickshire’s openers made a decent start, but when Kyle Abbott came on, Alex Davies played a flat-footed defensive shot and was palpably lbw. Nightwatchman Danny Briggs and Will Rhodes took the score to 40-1, leaving the Bears still 457 behind and facing an uphill struggle tomorrow.


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