More wickets for Tom on Day One

Tom Abell demonstrated his growing prowess as a bowler to help Somerset reduce Hampshire to 198 for eight on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The skipper, who had claimed only three First Class victims before the start of this season, took his tally to nine for the current campaign, at an average of just 8.44, with three for 18 from 8.1 overs of medium pace after winning the toss.

There were two wickets each for Tim Groenewald and Lewis Gregory as Hampshire collapsed from 86 for one during the morning session. James Vince (44) and Rilee Rossouw (38) were the main contributors for the visitors.

Rain and bad light prevented any further play after 3.25pm when an early tea was taken because of the first shower.

Hampshire began confidently after being invited to bat first.

Jimmy Adams and Joe Weatherly took the total to 44 in the 12th over before Adams was caught behind after pushing forward to Groenewald for 23.

Weatherley, who survived a chance to Matt Renshaw at second slip off Groenewald when on 13, progressed to 28 but fell lbw to Abell in the 19th over.

Vince looked in good form, displaying some trademark cover drives in collecting 10 fours before edging a swinging delivery from the Somerset captain through to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

At lunch Hampshire were 111 for three, with honours even. However, the first ball after the interval from Groenewald saw Hashim Amla, on four, strangled down the leg side as Davies claimed his third catch from a feint nick.

Rossouw was soon looking to counter-attack, striking eight boundaries in his aggressive 47-ball innings. He lost partner Tom Alsop, bowled leg stump through the gate by Gregory for 20, with the total 165.

Dom Bess claimed the important wicket of Rossouw to make it 178 for six as the batsman gave a catch to Jack Leach in the covers.

Abell claimed his third wicket of the innings when Renshaw held a tumbling catch at second slip to send back McManus.

Rain had been forecast and, although it wasn’t heavy to begin with, poor light prevented a resumption.

At the end of the day Tom Abell said: “I don’t want to get carried away because I’ve only got a few wickets and it’s very early days, but it’s nice to have been able to contribute.

“We weren’t quite at our best this morning, but we came back well and all chipped in with a couple of wickets, which was pleasing.

“I’m trying to find a role in the side where I can contribute with the ball. It’s also important not to underestimate the contribution of the other guys. Their efforts were outstanding, but sometimes they didn’t get the rewards they deserved. Once again it was a real team effort.

“I felt that there was a little bit in the wicket and if you got the ball in the right areas it was not straight forward to bat on. We had a little bit of luck sometimes but you need that. It’s been an interesting day’s play and we are relatively happy with how we finished.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to field first, but having first use of the wicket would give us our best chance and we are very comfortable with the decision we made. Tomorrow is a very big day and we will be looking to finish off their innings as quick as we can and then bat as big as we can.”

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's