Day Four – Tea
Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose batted through the afternoon session to take Warwickshire to 311 for four at tea on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.
The fifth-wicket pair took their partnership to 156 as Hain went into tea on 111 (194 balls, 15 fours, one six), his first century of the season, and Ambrose on 61 (159 balls, six fours) his fourth half-century in successive championship innings.
With the match still in only its second innings, as Warwickshire replied to Hampshire’s 531, the fourth day has been a trawl for bonus points, though the batsmen showed little urgency in pushing for those. Hampshire’s bowlers persevered on a placid surface but took just one wicket in the first two sessions, that of Jonathan Trott (68 from 142 balls, eight fours) brilliantly stumped down the leg-side by Lewis McManus off Gareth Berg.
Hampshire tasted deep frustration as they were prevented from pressing for victory over Warwickshire by heavy rain which washed out the third day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.
The visitors, bottom of Division One, had dominated the first two days having piled up 531 and then reduced the home side to 78 for three in reply.
Warwickshire were due to resume on the third morning on 131 for three, still 251 runs adrift of the follow-on figure, a position which they will now take up on the final morning.
On a placid pitch which has given bowlers little encouragement throughout, Hampshire had their work cut out to take 17 wickets in six sessions. For them to take 17 in three will require some spectacularly good bowling.
Warwickshire’s season, meanwhile, continues to be bedevilled by the weather. Rain and bad light has now cost them 848 championship overs this season.
The fascinating unpredictability of the Specsavers County Championship Division One this season has been underlined over the last two days at Edgbaston where Hampshire have dominated Warwickshire.
Hampshire are bottom of the division, largely due to a haul of only 14 batting points from eight games, much the fewest in either championship division. Warwickshire began this match one point off top after last week’s ten-wicket crushing of Surrey at Guildford.
But from the moment they won an albeit very advantageous toss, the visitors have been in command.
After the foundation was laid by Liam Dawson’s pragmatic century on the first day, Adam Wheater’s maiden double-century, 204 from 234 balls with 27 fours and three sixes, muscled Hampshire to 531 all out against an attack, shorn of the injured Boyd Rankin, down to two senior specialist seamers.
When Warwickshire then dipped to 11 for two in reply, the follow-on figure of 382 seemed far away.
They recovered to 131 for three by the close and, on a benign surface on which bowlers can do little more than persevere, would be aghast to be bowled out twice. But Hampshire have dictated the match and have scoreboard pressure on their side.
Jonathan Trott, averaging 68.20 in the championship this season, batted with authority to reach the close unbeaten on 59
After Hampshire resumed on 304 for four, Wheater, playing as a specialist batsman having recently relinquished the wicketkeeping role to Lewis McManus, advanced relentlessly. He added 79 with nightwatchman Mason Crane 22 (73 balls, four fours) and, after the latter was bowled by Jonathan Trott, 144 with Sean Ervine (75 , 94 balls, seven fours, two sixes).
Ervine’s departure triggered the loss of the last five wickets in 19 balls, two to Jeetan Patel and three in six balls for leg-spinner Josh Poysden who finished with a career-best four for 85.
Warwickshire began their reply at the start of a post-tea session which would have lasted 49-overs if the last 6.4 had not been lost to bad light and hit early trouble at 11 for two when Gareth Andrew bowled Andy Umeed, who offered no shot and Gareth Berg castled Ian Bell who did offer one but to no avail.
Varun Chopra appeared well-set on 39 (84 balls, seven fours) but then missed one from that perhaps kept a little low from Andrew. Jonathan Trott, averaging 68.20 in the championship this season and fresh from a century last week, batted with authority to reach the close unbeaten on 59 (116 balls, seven fours) but Warwickshire have plenty more batting to do to get safe.
Hampshire have found batting points hard to harvest this season but they exploited a good pitch, a correct call and a depleted Warwickshire attack to amass 304 for four on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship at Edgbaston.
The visitors won the toss (Warwickshire captain Ian Bell is yet to win a contested one in the championship this season), chose to bat on a firm track and Liam Dawson, in particular, made hay.
Without Rankin, an attack already missing Chris Woakes, Mark Adair and Chris Wright had to soldier on with just three senior bowlers
Fresh from impressing with the ball on his England T20 debut against Sri Lanka, Dawson shone with the bat. His eighth first-class hundred (116 from 200 balls with 13 fours and a six) has given Hampshire, bottom of Division One, a strong foundation from which to push for a much-needed victory.
It was a composed, compact century, completed from the first ball with the second new ball and compiled against an attack deprived of a key man after Boyd Rankin suffered a back-strain during his first over. Without Rankin, an attack already missing Chris Woakes, Mark Adair and Chris Wright (England and Ireland duty and injury respectively) had to soldier on with just three senior bowlers.
Expectations of a turning pitch led to both teams selecting two spinners. With seamer Ryan McLaren ruled out by a hamstring strain, Hampshire recalled 19-year-old leggie Mason Crane whose maiden first-class five-for sent Warwickshire hurtling to defeat at The Ageas Bowl last August.
Patel delivered 34 balls before conceding a run but the first-day turn was never sharp
Spin was deployed with the match just 19 minutes old as Jeetan Patel, fresh from taking ten wickets against Surrey last week, was introduced for the sixth over. Patel delivered 34 balls before conceding a run but the first-day turn was never sharp.
Keith Barker broke the opening stand at 35 when an inswinger trapped Will Smith lbw. Jimmy Adams eked 14 runs from 87 balls then pulled Patel straight to mid-wicket.
Dawson and Tom Alsop added 81 in 24 overs before 20-year-old Alsop, having hit six fours and a six in another innings of high promise (50, 103 balls), top-edged leg-spinner Josh Poysden to mid-off.
Dawson found further resolute support from Adam Wheater (89 not out, 125 balls, 12 fours, one six) though in a fourth-wicket stand of 155 in 39 overs before the estimable Barker trapped Dawson lbw five overs before the close. Hampshire had the good fortune to win the toss – and have so far played the good cricket needed to take advantage.