Hampshire Settle For A Draw After Impressive Bowling Display

Report from Hampshire's Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl

Day One: 

Will Smith and Jimmy Adams scored Hampshire's joint second-highest partnership for any wicket against Lancashire to help the home side post 257-1 on day one of their Specsavers County Championship match at the Ageas Bowl.

Smith, Hampshire's captain, will enter day two unbeaten on 99 runs, after he and Adams compiled 191 runs in a finely crafted first wicket stand, ending an excellent opening day of batting alongside Tom Alsop (50*).

Alsop became the third Hants player to reach fifty during the final over of play, and will look to add further to an 85-run partnership with Smith when the pair return to the middle, firmly on top against Lancashire. 

After Smith won the toss and elected to bat first against Lancashire, the Hampshire skipper and his opening partner, Adams, took full advantage of a favourable batting pitch and took the home side to 69-0 at lunch.

The experienced duo made a measured start on day one, and then began to open up with the bat at the end of a progressive morning session in which they had offered very few opportunities for the visiting bowlers.

Adams reached his fifty shortly after the break, having hit eight fours off 122 balls, as Hampshire surpassed 100 runs without loss.

Smith then brought up his fifty, off 147 balls, as the pair surpassed Hampshire’s highest opening stand of the season – a 160-run partnership between the two against Durham at Emirates Riverside in July.

Adams surpassed his highest first-class score of the season, but was caught at point immediately after, as Jordan Clark ended Hampshire’s highest opening stand against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl.

With big boots to fill, Tom Alsop started smartly and took Hampshire past 250 with Smith, who was unwavering after the dismissal of his opening partner.

Alsop reached his fifty with back-to-back boundaries in the final over of the day, moving his partnership with Smith onto 85 runs, and boosting Hampshire's handsome first innings score to 276-1 after an evening session which solidified Hampshire’s dominance over the visitors.

Day Two:

Will Smith’s highest ever first-class innings helped Hampshire post 548-6 before declaring on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire, who trail by 479 at stumps.

Smith faced 455 balls and spent nearly ten hours in the middle finely crafting a determined knock, at the helm of two superb days of Hampshire batting, sealed by an unbeaten 81 from in-form all-rounder Ryan McLaren.

Gareth Berg found an early breakthrough with the ball, reducing Lancashire to 12-1, but Haseeb Hameed (37) recovered from a damaging start to take the visitors to 68-1, trailing by 479 at the end of day two.   

Will Smith opened day two by securing his first County Championship century in almost two years, pushing the second ball of the day to the boundary to a hearty applause from the Ageas Bowl crowd.

Smith’s 17th first-class ton was crafted with admirable grit and determination, showing the qualities that have earned him over 8,600 first-class runs.

Hampshire steadily passed 300 runs, after Tom Alsop was trapped at lbw by Tom Smith, and Liam Dawson instantly exuded an air of authority as he joined his skipper in the middle.

Dawson played selectively, pushing three wider deliveries to the boundary as he added 20 off 39 balls to Hampshire’s tally, and Adam Wheater played positively during his 29 off 24 balls, looking to increase Hampshire’s run rate with proactive batting.

The pair, who have made strong contributions with the bat all season, were removed by Clark and Kerrigan respectively to halt Hampshire’s progress on 363-4 in the 119th over.

Ryan McLaren put Hampshire back on track for a mammoth score against Lancashire, putting on a 129-run partnership with Smith and making fifty off 106 balls, after the captain was removed.

Smith secured his highest ever first-class score with an assured boundary, surpassing an unbeaten 201 for Durham against Surrey in 2008. The Hampshire captain displayed remarkable patience and admirable resilience to hit 210 runs off 455 balls, before lofting to Kerrigan at mid-off.

Having been at the helm of Hampshire’s dominant performance with the bat for almost ten hours, Smith left the field to a standing ovation from all inside the Ageas Bowl – players, coaches, staff and spectators – who had watched a finely crafted knock develop.

At tea, Hampshire were in a commanding position at 520-5, with a declaration imminent.

McLaren chose to attack the Lancashire bowlers, and smashed 16 off the 165th over, taking the home side to 549-6 by bludgeoning the ball for six before jogging off to the dressing room with Gareth Berg, satisfied with a stellar innings at the Ageas Bowl.

Gareth Berg gave Hampshire an ideal start with the ball, reducing the visitors to 12-1 in a wicket maiden seventh over, as the home side found an early breakthrough.

Lancashire recovered and climbed to 68-1 at stumps, but Hants are well on top, leading by 480 runs going into day three.

Day Three: 

Director of Cricket Giles White commended Hampshire's positive attitude in the field after a testing day three against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl, as the home side's lead was cut to 238 runs in the Specsavers County Championship.

Hampshire’s bowlers took three Lancashire wickets on the third day, and remain determined to take the 16 wickets required for an all-important victory over the visitors.

Will Smith removed Procter with the last ball before lunch and Liam Dawson struck in the final session, denying Alviro Petersen (98) of a century, as three Lancashire half-tons pushed the game towards a draw.

Smith had shown tremendous patience with the bat during almost ten hours compiling a double-ton on the opening two days, but a different kind of patience would be required on day three.

After the Lancashire pair, Haseeb Hameed (65*) and Luke Procter (54), both reached half-tons during a resilient morning session from the visitors, Smith finally found a breakthrough with the final ball before lunch.

The Hampshire captain trapped Procter at lbw to end a 119-run partnership, which had lasted 51 overs exactly, giving Hampshire a foothold going into a crucial afternoon session - their lead 417 runs.

Despite displaying a great appetite in the field, Hampshire were unable to take a third wicket, with Brad Wheal and Mason Crane coming the closest to taking Hameed. 

Ryan McLaren was inches away from catching the promising youngster at point, moments before the Bolton-born batsman reached 1,000 first-class runs in his 15th match.

After Hampshire took the new ball in the 83rd over, McLaren immediately looked to have found an edge from Hameed but, despite convincing cries from a four-man slip cordon, umpire Neil Mallender remained unmoved.

Berg took the all-important wicket, clean-bowling Hameed before tea and going into the break with figures of 2-48 to show for 17 well-executed overs.

The spin of Mason Crane and Liam Dawson reduced the flow of runs for the Lancashire batsmen, who were 17 runs shy of a third batting point after 110 overs, and a fourth wicket would fall before the end of play.

Dawson bowled Alviro Petersen (98) two runs shy of his century, producing a wickedly deceptive delivery to supply some encouragement for Hampshire's fielders, who had been denied of clear-cut wicket opportunities throughout day three, finishing with Lancashire on 310-4 after 121 overs.

Hampshire require 16 wickets on the final day of their County Championship encounter with Lancashire in order to secure victory at the Ageas Bowl - an almighty task which has failed to defeat the spirits of Hants' determined fielders.

Day Four:

Hampshire produced a valiant bowling display on the final day, but their Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl ended as a draw.

Mason Crane (3-87) and Liam Dawson (3-63) both took advantage of the turning pitch early in the day to prevent Lancashire from avoiding the follow-on, dismissing them for 387, to give Hants a chance of victory, 

Despite three more wickets for Dawson in the evening session, the visitors successfully batted out the final session to finish on 98-3 in their second innings.  

The hard-fought draw leaves Hampshire with 9 points from the match whilst Lancashire return to Old Trafford with 7 points.

Hampshire knew any chance of securing a victory on the final day would depend on early wickets and thankfully for the home side leg-spinner Mason Crane delivered.

Crane, who along with his incredible natural spin got extra assistance from a wearing pitch, found regular turn and the odd bounce with his leg breaks and he accounted for two of three wickets in quick succession during the morning session.

At 333-7, Hampshire were on top and it was Liam Dawson who finished off an excellent morning for the hosts by dismissing wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Moores (18) on the stroke of lunch.

Two wickets in five balls early in the afternoon session gave Hants a fighting chance of an unlikely win by enforcing the follow-on.

With 58 overs left in the match, Will Smith tried every option he had available to make the breakthrough but openers Steve Croft and Haseeb Hameed patiently saw Lancashire through to tea on 37-0, 124 runs behind.

Dawson’s impressive form with the ball continued into the evening session as he picked up three Lancashire wickets – six in total during the final day – but young opener Haseeb Hameed (53*) led Lancashire to stumps on 98-3 ending the match as a draw.