Bowlers put Somerset on top at Hampshire
Somerset’s bowlers once again highlighted why they are one of the most feared attacks in domestic red-ball cricket on day one of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Tom Abell then helped to ensure that the visitors would be in a strong first innings position as his side closed the day with a 63-run advantage with five wickets still in hand.
It was a dramatic day that saw 15 wickets fall in total.
The Somerset Captain was unbeaten on 52, guiding his side to 142 for five, after Hampshire were earlier bowled out for just 79 after being put into bat.
Lewis Gregory was the pick of the Somerset attack, taking four for 26, as the hosts were dismissed inside 41 overs and less than an hour after lunch. It was the first time since 1969 that Hampshire had posted back-to-back sub-100 first innings totals following last week’s 92 all out against Surrey at The Kia Oval.
The home side started the day in third place in Group Two, one place behind Somerset, and did well to only lose the in-form Ian Holland inside the opening hour. Holland departed for four when Gregory found the outside edge of the Australian’s bat and Craig Overton took the catch at slip.
The second hour of the day proved to be a perfect one for Somerset as five wickets fell for 16 runs inside 11 overs with Tom Alsop, Sam Northeast, James Vince and Liam Dawson all posting single-figure scores.
Opener Joe Weatherley top-scored for his side with a scratchy 20 but was guilty of running out Northeast for just four after he took a risky single and George Bartlett hit the stumps with a direct hit from cover.
Gregory mopped up the tail 50 minutes after lunch having received excellent support from the Overton and Josh Davey who each picked up two wickets.
The overhead conditions continued to favour the seamers in the afternoon session and Somerset slipped to 11 for two inside four overs when new-ball pairing Keith Barker and Mohammad Abass dismissed Tom Lammonby and Eddie Byrom. Kyle Abbott then trapped James Hildreth lbw for 14 before Abell and Bartlett posted the first 50 partnership of the match following a short rain delay.
The 54-run stand was broken by Abbott who tempted Bartlett, who had played well for his 27, into playing at a rising delivery and Dawson snared a high catch at second slip. However, Abell and Lewis Goldsworthy held firm until the penultimate over of the day when Holland beat the defences of Goldsworthy with a full-length ball that clattered into the stumps. Holland then went from hero to villain when he dropped a catch off nightwatchman Jack Leach who’d edged Barker to third slip.
At the close of play, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “There was plenty in the surface and we recognised that you have to exploit that and bowl in the right areas. We did that. I thought we were incredibly patient and we got our rewards and that was very pleasing.”
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