Report: Hampshire v Warwickshire, County Championship
Hampshire professionally secured their sixth victory of the season to maintain pressure with Surrey in the LV= Insurance County Championship title race.
James Vince’s men needed under two hours to claim the final Warwickshire wicket and knock off the 91 required to win by eight wickets.
Felix Organ ticked off 41 of the runs in 36 balls, with a combative suppression of Danny Briggs, with Vince and Nick Gubbins quickly taking Hampshire over the line inside 17 overs.
Having lost to Essex last time, Hampshire are now back on their championship charge and take 23 points out of the match, while Warwickshire return to Edgbaston with four.
Warwickshire’s 10th wicket pair of Briggs and George Garrett added 31-morning runs, to take their partnership to 37. Garrett survived an lbw appeal from Keith Barker and a Liam Dawson delivery which turned through the gate but over the stumps.
However, he did stroke Barker through the covers before Briggs powerfully swept former Hampshire team-mate Dawson to the boundary twice as the confidence levels grew.
Garrett was dropped by Vince on 10 at first slip diving to his right but in the following over, Hampshire’s irritations were ended as Abbott brushed Briggs’ edge.
Organ got the chase moving with the fourth delivery as he guided a cut off Oliver Hannon-Dalby to the third boundary and from then on looked to get the game finished in a rush.
Briggs bore the brunt of his assault; Organ advancing and punching him through the covers before alternating between regular and reverse sweeping the Isle of Wight-born spinner to the boundary.
His aggression did bring about a comical dropped catch as a huge swipe gently headed towards Alex Davies at mid-off for a gimme catch, only for the ball to pop out of his hands and landed sadly on the turf.
The 50 stand came up in 59 balls before Garrett added to his impressive morning when he pinned Holland plumb in front and then caught Organ at square-leg off Briggs.
But Vince – who prepared for the Vitality Blast Finals Day with a 22 off 21 balls – and a reverse-sweeping Nick Gubbins chalked off the remaining 36 runs as Hampshire maintained their unbeaten Ageas Bowl record in the Championship this season.
Keith Barker claimed four for 23 after Michael Burgess and Alex Davies tenaciously ground down Hampshire to chaperon Warwickshire into day four.
Bears old boy Barker is second in the Division One wicket-taking tally with 38 scalps this season but was forced to toil with Mohammad Abbas (three for 31), Liam Dawson (two for 38) and the rest of the host’s attack.
Davies and Burgess, 46 and 58, were the chief occupiers on a turgid day of low scoring as Warwickshire attempted to scrap their way out of the threat of an innings defeat, having given up a 153 first-innings deficit.
Hampshire will need a wicket and at least 59 runs on the final day; with victory and a likely Surrey draw closing the gap at the top of the table to a single point.
Dom Sibley reverted to type after his 56-ball half-century in the first innings by soaking up 34 balls, admittedly 16 coming the previous evening, before he dangled his bat at an Abbas delivery which angled across him.
Without Sam Hain and with Sibley already departed, there were fears Warwickshire could collapse in a similar manner to the first innings. Hain is with England Lions this week and is their top scorer with 716 runs – and also scored twin centuries on his last appearance on this ground.
Alex Davies stood up for 215 long, dogged, minutes though. Davies, who joined from Lancashire last winter has a reputation for being an attack-minded player, here he put away almost all his shots for the greater good. Other than being spilt at second slip very early on, he barely offered a yelp of a half appeal.
Chris Benjamin stuck with him for almost an hour and a half as the 2022 Championship theme of a softening paired with a slow Ageas Bowl pitch made the game feel like it had often paused. Keith Barker eventually got him just before lunch with another nibble behind when pushing across a right-handed batter.
An inviting spot of rough outside a left-handed batters’ off stump was Liam Dawson’s target area, with Dan Mousley and Will Rhodes attempting to defend against the risk. Dawson would get the pair of them lbw with identical sharp turning and low bouncing balls.
Mohammad Abbas is perfect for this type of slow wicket as his metronomic bowling occasionally produces a surprise moment of inspiration. He ended Matt Lamb’s stay by bereaving his leg and off stumps of their triplet.
The Pakistani then offered Davies width which the opener gratefully picked up on with the intention of taking him to fifty, but Aneurin Donald plucked out a screamer at point. Davies was forced to trudge back to the dressing room after 154 balls.
Abbas’ spell of five overs was worth two for 12 but despite reaching the lower-middle order, Hampshire were frustrated by first-innings top scorer Nathan McAndrew and Warwickshire’s second leading run-getter Michael Burgess.
Fidel Edwards was on the pitch at tea as he was given a gift by Rod Bransgrove to commemorate his five years at Hampshire. How his former county wished for his explosivity as McAndrew and Burgess made sure they’d have to bat again.
They added 81, Warwickshire’s highest partnership of the match, with little issue, despite the second new ball. Burgess picked up his fifth 50-plus score of the campaign in 103 deliveries.
Barker was the man to go bang-bang this time. Burgess, who had been dropped on six, fell toeing a drive to Donald at point before McAndrew tickled behind. Oliver Hannon-Dalby lobbed a simple catch to square leg with Warwickshire closing on 212 for nine.
Ian Holland ended his LV= Insurance County Championship woes with an excruciating 99 as Hampshire built an important first-innings lead over Warwickshire.
Opening batter Holland began his season with 81 against Somerset but averaged 14 in his subsequent 13 innings before alleviating his poor form with a stubborn knock.
Liam Dawson maintained his impressive form with 92 – having put on 137 with Holland – and Ben Brown an unbeaten 72 to take Hampshire to a 153-run lead, with Oliver Hannon-Dalby taking his season tally to 35 wickets with five for 86.
Warwickshire sliced 11 off the deficit in six wicketless overs.
Hampshire had wobbled to end day one on 42 for three, 175 runs in arrears, after an exceptional bowling display. Therefore, the morning session was a recalibration and a slow accumulation of runs.
Holland had shown a glimpse of his newfound resolution in the second innings of the thriller at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford a fortnight ago, when he scored 37 in 95 balls to provide the glue against Simon Harmer’s onslaught.
His place in the team was somewhat questioned, with Joe Weatherley and Tom Prest itching to take their Vitality Blast form to the red ball.
Here, with night watcher Kyle Abbott for company, he put an unbelievably high price on his wicket; playing in a compact style with only balls offering any width smacked to the boundary.
Abbott had started the season with an Audi-worth of ducks but has returned to ‘genuine all-rounder Abbott’ recently and extended his overnight stay much longer than he would have been welcome – importantly softening the ball at the same time.
The South African was lbw to Nathan McAndrew to end the 41-run stand, but that only joined Holland and Dawson together. It was unspectacular, efficient and – other than a spill at gully – chanceless from the pair.
Dawson collected a pair of fifties against Yorkshire in the last Championship fixture at the Ageas Bowl, before taking his maiden ten-wicket haul at Essex, with 17 wickets coming miserly in the Blast.
While Holland peppered between third and cover, Dawson’s innings required eyes in the back of his head – with just 16 of his 92 runs coming in front of square – as he typically played the ball as late as possible.
Holland’s fifty came in 131 balls, Dawson’s in 94 and a pair of centuries looked certain only for Holland to edge a cut to first slip. His reaction of slumping on his bat, forcefully spinning around, lifting his bat over his head and looking skywards as his slink away proved a visual depiction of his internal heartbreak.
The second new ball, led by Hannon-Dalby, then sent Hampshire into a mini tail-spin on either side of tea. Dawson was leg before to the gangly fast bowler, Aneurin Donald chopped him on before Keith Barker played McAndrew back onto his stumps. The hosts falling from 249 for five to 291 for eight.
But Brown, in his typically busy manner, and the permanently-attacking James Fuller took the lead past three figures in a bustling 70-run stand. Fuller eventually holed out for a 39-ball 37, while Brown past fifty for the fourth time this season before a classic slog boundary brought about the declaration.
Dom Sibley answered Ben Stokes’ call to arms with an aggressive LV= Insurance County Championship half-century before Warwickshire slipped to 217 against Hampshire.
England Test captain Stokes sent a message to county cricketers that the manner in which they play “will be on the selectors’ minds” – with Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum promoting a more aggressive mindset.
Sibley, previously criticised for his slow play when playing for England, responded at the Ageas Bowl with a 56-ball fifty, full of shot-making.
He fell for 56 to start a post-lunch wobble of five wickets falling for 17 runs – headed by Kyle Abbott’s five for 45 – before Australian Nathan McAndrew countered with 63.
In reply, Olly Hannon-Dalby pilfered two wickets for 22 as Hampshire stumbled to 42 for three at stumps.
Visiting skipper Will Rhodes couldn’t have said “bat” any quicker having won the toss under blue skies and warm sun, and before lunch, everything was as easy as the conditions suggested.
Sibley made things look even simpler with an approach which would have pricked Stokes and McCullum’s attention, having not played a Test since last autumn. The third and fifth balls he faced disappeared to the third boundary with controlled and uncontrolled edges.
While thick outside edges were an early motif of his innings, it was a pair of straight drives that drew surveillance due to their rarity in a typical Sibley innings. Those took him to 27 from only 20 balls.
Surrey-bound Sibley went away over the winter to work on his cricket, pulling out of an England A tour to Australia. He has returned with 537 runs at a smudge under 45, with two centuries – with only Ben Compton and Alastair Cook bettering his record as an opener in Division One.
A glorious cover drive continued his off-side dominance before he reached the fourth score over 50 this summer with a flick off his legs to the boundary.
Alex Davies was leg before to Liam Dawson attempting a scoop and Chris Benjamin was bowled shouldering his arms to the returning Mohammad Abbas, but otherwise, it had been a batting morning.
The afternoon was not. The ball started to nibble slightly more as Abbott and Keith Barker asserted their pressure. Abbott’s post-lunch spell was exemplary as his eight overs produced figures of three for nine.
Barker was equally prolific with his first five-over after the interval two for 11 as he had Sibley caught behind, having narrowly missed the outside edge the ball before. Abbott pinned Dan Mousley in front and Will Rhodes squared up and outside edging to third slip before Barker bowled Matt Lamb while leaving.
Michael Burgess tried to charge Abbott but couldn’t get out the way of a bouncer, which he gloved to first slip.
Having been 77 for one, Warwickshire were now 104 for seven. Enter McAndrew and Danny Briggs – who was afforded a warm welcome on his return to his first county. The pair put on 57 to take the sting out of the afternoon before Hannon-Dalby added a further 56 with McAndrew once Briggs became the third victim not to offer a shot.
McAndrew, in his 18th first-class match, reached his fifth half-century in 79 – although he and Hannon-Dalby were both given lives earlier in their innings.
Abbott ended the resistance as McAndrew hooked to deep fine leg and George Garrett was bowled. Sam Hain-less Warwickshire bowled out for 217.
The Bears’ bowling display in 23 overs was magnificent. Hannon-Dalby saw off Felix Organ lbw and James Vince nicking to first slip.
Garrett didn’t go for a run in his opening three overs – and only conceded four runs in five overs. While McAndrew moved on Nick Gubbins for a turgid two off 30 balls with a catch at second slip.