Day Four

Hampshire beat the rain by skittling Warwickshire out for 167 to go top of the Specsavers County Championship Division One table. Kyle Abbott and spin twins Mason Crane and Sean Ervine whipped through the struggling visitors to pull off an innings and 94 runs victory – with dark clouds circling at the Ageas Bowl.

Ian Bell reached his 99th first class fifty, as he looked the only player at home on a tricky wicket, before he was bowled by Abbott. Jonathan Trott, who had batted all but 13 balls on day three, departed soon after as Mason Crane found turn and bounce to find his outside edge – a simple catch for Sean Ervine at first slip.

Abbott’s golden arm then saw him pin Sam Hain lbw, the umpire noticing the ball had just struck pad before pad, before the South African had Rikki Clarke leg before to a bowl which failed to get up.

Gareth Berg replaced Abbott at the Pavilion End and had his own success in his second over when he had Tim Ambrose lbw – leaving Warwickshire in dire straits at 131 for seven. The only blip on an otherwise perfect morning for Hampshire was Jimmy Adams’ drop at second slip – which saw Keith Barker earn an extra life.

After the interval, Crane pulled off a sensational googly, which kept very low, to baffle Grant Thornton and wrap him on the pads. Then the rain arrived and frustrated the hosts by forcing the players off for 20 minutes. But when Hampshire came back onto the pitch they took little time in rolling through the tail.

Boyd Rankin was bowled leaving a Sean Ervine straight ball, before the Zimbabwean finished things off by pinning Sunny Singh lbw. Hampshire move 14 points clear of Essex at the top of the table, having played a game more. The win was their third of the season, with Warwickshire taking three bonus points from the match to stay second from bottom.

Day Three

Jonathan Trott’s watchful century handed Warwickshire hopes of saving a draw – despite losing early wickets after being forced to follow-on by Hampshire. Trott batted for the entire day, other than 14 balls at the start of Warwickshire’s second innings, collecting his third century of the season before ending the day 17 not out. But Warwickshire still trail Hampshire by 186 runs going into the final day with eight wickets in hand.

Trott returned home to Birmingham at the beginning of day two following a family emergency before coming back to bat at an unfamiliar No.8. Despite his lowly place in the batting order he still had time to take a large chunk out of the game to frustrate Hampshire, with blue skies often threatened by dark clouds on a pitch suited for batting. As has been seen by Trott for both county and England he proved a rear-guard innings which forced upbeat Hampshire to toil – having boasted the best of the opening two days.

Grant Thornton, who appeared as a night-watchman on the previous evening, was the only wicket to fall in the morning as he edged to Rilee Rossouw at first slip – with Abbott angling it across him aggressively. Trott’s long 42-over partnership with Keith Barker was a textbook move to both take time out the game and bat yourself into form.

The pair started in purely blocking mode before carefully freeing their arms where appropriate. Trott and Barker put on 104 together, with only a few morning leg before appeals putting any major worries to the duo. Barker scored a patient 63, his half century coming off 97 deliveries, before Sean Ervine, bowling off spin, had him caught at first slip. The stand had given a renewed hope of forcing a draw but that appeared to be distinguished again when Boyd Rankin was bowled by Mason Crane for four, although more importantly he only used up 16 balls.

Enter Sunny Singh on just his third first class appearance, second in the Championship, having never scored a professional run. Trott shielded him for an early burst, with the more experienced batsman moving past a 115 ball fifty. With Singh appearing more confident was given more responsibility, as Hampshire started to look bereft of ideas, clipping balls confidently and maturely around the Ageas Bowl.

Trott, meanwhile, continued in his shell-like state, and after a prolonged afternoon session brought up a potentially match saving century. He fell to the first ball after tea to wrap up the innings with Warwickshire trailing by 261 – which allowed George Bailey to enforce the follow-on.

Hampshire were given 21 overs to make in-roads into the Warwickshire batting line-up for a second time – with rain forecast on the final day. Abbott became the highest wicket taker in the Championship this season when he notched up his 32nd scalp of the campaign – with Ian Westwood on the end of a snorter outside off stump, and Jimmy Adams catching well at second slip. Gareth Berg snatched the other evening wicket as Andrew Umeed feathered behind. But old adversary Trott and Ian Bell kept alive hopes of saving a draw with a 66 run stand in the embers of the day.

Day Two

Sean Ervine collected a double century before Hampshire’s bowling attack decimated Warwickshire on day two of the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash at the Ageas Bowl.

Ervine moved from 140 overnight to sublime 200 to hand his side a first innings total of 515. But Hampshire domination on the game didn’t stop there as they left Warwickshire floundering on 69 for six – still 316 behind the follow on.

With blue skies overhead and the same undisturbed dry track as the first day, Warwickshire toiled in their reply. Ian Westwood summed up their frustrating game so far with a running mix-up as he was well short of his ground after good work from Michael Carberry.

Matt Salisbury began his Hampshire debut with a pearler to get rid of Sam Hain, as the ball came in and then nicked away to catch his edge behind.

Ian Bell followed two balls later when he was lbw to a huge in swinger. Tim Ambrose handed Ian Holland his maiden Championship wicket with a brilliant in-ducker which fooled the wicket keeper. Mason Crane took a five-for against Somerset last week and followed up with two late evening scalps. First he had Rikki Clarke leg before with a big turner, before with the last ball of the day a beauty saw Andrew Umeed edge behind.

Earlier, Ervine and Adams continued exactly how they left day one as their record fourth wicket stand looked unstoppable. The pair batted through the morning session in serene style only playing shots when they had to with no mandate to score runs quickly. Their records included the highest fourth wicket stand for Hampshire of all time and the top stand of any wicket in Division One this season.

The afternoon session saw the game progress at a decent pace as the epic stand was finally broken and Singh started to chip away with his left arm spin. Adams was the first to depart for a scrappy yet completely chanceless 166 having batted for 502 minutes and 386 balls.

A rare attacking shot from Adams was flicked off his legs to mid-wicket – the colossal stand ending on 367. Ervine completed his stunning double century, his second for Hampshire and the third of his career, but was out just three runs later.

The Zimbabwean attempting a reverse paddle but missed Singh’s low slow bounce. The light for Warwickshire was quickly dimmed again as debutant Ian Holland added 61 for the seventh wicket with Lewis McManus, with the hosts still yet to accelerate.

McManus did club a massive six over square leg before Holland was lbw and he was caught at first slip while attempting to slog. Mason Crane was yorked first ball handing Singh his maiden professional five wicket haul. Singh picked up a sixth when Gareth Berg clubbed to the long on boundary, before Andrew Usmeed grabbed his first career scalp to wrap up the innings. But after their evening heroics, Hampshire look in a great position to win back-to-back for the first time this seasons.

Day One

Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine recorded Hampshire’s best fourth wicket partnership against Warwickshire as the pair led a remarkable recovery for the hosts.

Adams and Ervine put on 263 together, which was also an Ageas Bowl record, as they helped the hosts recuperate from 31 for three to end the day on 294 without losing another wicket.

The experienced duo, who have been mainstays in the Hampshire line-up together for 11 years, topped the 120 year county record of 222 which was set by Walter Andrew and Arthur Hill.

Opener Adams batted out the whole day with a complete lack of interest in scoring runs quickly – instead preferring a survival mode which saw him offer little to the Warwickshire bowling attack.

Adams boasted his place in the team down to Liam Dawson and James Vince’s England Lions call-ups – which saw him return to the side after missing fixtures against Essex and Somerset.

As he reached fifty, from 156 balls, Adams reached an impressive landmark of 13,000 career first-class runs.

His remarkable patience was rewarded when he finally reached three figures in the 93rd over of the day – having faced 261 balls.

The reward for Adams was his maiden century since September 2015 – having scored departed in the 90s three times across the formats last summer.

No.5 Ervine was also watchful at first but grew into his innings as he maturely dispatched what he dared – as Warwickshire began to toil after their frantic start.

The Zimbabwean drove, pulled and cut with perfect weight as he scored 50 off 82 balls and a century from 158 deliveries.

The ton, brought up in the afternoon session, was his first of the season having previously only collecting 160 runs in his nine previous County Championship innings.

He returned to the hut unbeaten on 160, having passed his 11,000 red ball run late in the evening, with Adams 104 not out.

Hampshire decided to bat having looked at the dry pitch, which offered a peculiar lighter shade patch on a spinners length at either end.

The decision looked foolish with Hampshire slumping to 31 for three within the first 10 overs.

The wicket seemed two-paced with the majority of balls early on appearing to struggle through to wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose, but the occasional delivery speeding through.

Keith Barker, who took a five-wicket haul on the ground last year, look a particular danger with his medium-fast bowling seaming both ways.

Michael Carberry was a frustrated victim of the slowness of the pitch when he found himself at the pitch early before his leading edge looping up to Ian Bell at mid-on, Barker threatening to repeat his 2016 performance as he notched his 300th red ball scalp.

The left-armer produced a wicked delivery to see off Rilee Rossouw.

Opposed to the sluggishness of the bounce to Carberry, the South African failed to deal with a massive amount of in-seam to be rattled on his back pad by Barker.

Boyd Rankin joined the attack in the 10th over and within four balls used the inactive rebound off the pitch to cause George Bailey problems.

The Australian, in his over eagerness to cut, swung early and chipped another simple catch to Bell, who was now on the off side.

After that, despite plenty of optimistic leg before appeals and close plays and misses, Ervine and Adams strode into the distance to hand Hampshire a solid day one foundation.