Vitality County Championship – Warwickshire v Hampshire Day Two

Vitality County Championship – Warwickshire v Hampshire Day Two

After two days of hard fought cricket, Hampshire have worked their way into a strong position, by bowling Warwickshire out for 254 and gaining a useful lead of 45 on first innings. They then extended this to 132 by close of play, still with eight wickets in hand. The weather is set fine so they have every prospect of batting the Bears out of the game tomorrow and giving themselves a day or more to force a win.

At the start of the day and having survived the early disaster of the coffee machine not working in the Edgbaston Press Box, your intrepid reporter watched two balls of action before the inevitable ball change drama occurred. Then, on a warm but overcast morning, both Kyle Abbott and ex-Bear Keith Barker obtained enough movement to trouble the batters. Add to that some variation in bounce and the challenge was obvious. Night watchman Danny Briggs soon fell lbw to Barker and Sam Hain, having survived a close lbw appeal against Abbott, was well caught by keeper Ben Brown who was standing up to Barker. That was 69-4 and it could have been worse as Liam Dawson floored a relatively easy chance at second slip off Barker to spare Ed Barnard. The cost to Hampshire was minimal because Barker achieved movement from a perfect length to bowl Barnard and leave the home team struggling at 83-5, still 215 behind.

Before Jacob Bethell was off the mark, Dawson dropped another second slip chance. This was much more costly because Bethell, the rising star in the Warwickshire cricketing firmament, combined with Dan Mousley to bring back a much more even balance between bat and ball. With clearing skies, by lunch, the Bears were 148-5 and Mousley had reached a hard-earned 50. Dawson was reduced to patrolling the deep cover boundary as penance for his sins.

Hampshire had an early success after lunch when Mousley drove loosely at a wide ball from Barker and was caught behind. His 57 took him 89 balls, striking seven fours. Suddenly and miraculously, the bowlers started to re-discover the early morning movement off the pitch and batting again became laborious. Michael Burgess and Bethell worked hard to steady the Warwickshire ship and Bethell reached a worthy 50 off 105 balls – quite a contrast to his recent T20 50 off just 15 balls. Full marks for adaptability.

Keith Barker beat the bat several times with excellent deliveries so that it was ironic that he took the wickets of both Bethell and Chris Woakes with wide deliveries that could have been left. Craig Miles helped to bring up the 250 before he was bowled by a Kyle Abbott trimmer. Burgess clearly had little faith in Olly Hannon-Dalby, refusing several singles before playing on – 254 all out, a deficit of 45. Barker finished with 6-74 and Abbott with 3-64.

Hampshire started their second innings with ten sessions left in the game. Toby Albert was well caught by Jacob Bethell, diving forward at second slip. Fletcha Middleton dominated the scoring, reaching his second half century of the match out of 65-1, with Nick Gubbins as his dormant partner.

Dan Mousley was the eighth bowler tried by Warwickshire and he broke the stand of 85 in his first over, having Middleton caught behind for 58. Felix Organ and Gubbins saw out the day, the latter having batted 104 balls for his 24 runs. He will have plenty of time tomorrow to add to that and build Hampshire’s lead.


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