Hampshire Secure Draw With Yorkshire On Rain-Affected Day Four

Gareth Berg reached 200 first class wickets as rain prevented a result at the Ageas Bowl

Day One:

Gareth Berg’s (5-54) first Hampshire five-fer restricted Yorkshire to 262-9 after 85 overs on day one of their Specsavers County Championship clash at the Ageas Bowl, which was cut short by bad light.

Hampshire's bowlers removed Yorkshire's dangermen before lunch, before Berg's inspired display enhanced a successful day with the ball for the home side, who will look to end a tenth wicket stand of 41 runs when they resume for day two.

Berg's first five-fer in County Championship Division One included an eight-ball spell in which the South African all-rounder took three wickets for two runs to reduce the visitors to 224-8.

Brad Wheal took Hampshire’s first wicket of the match in the 10th over, removing key batsman Alex Lees for 10 and halting Yorkshire at 22-1, as Will Smith pocketed smartly in the slips.

Smith then took a fine, athletic catch at gully to remove Adam Lyth (24), who misguided a swinging delivery from Ryan McLaren six overs after his opening partner had been taken.

The visitors were restricted to 90-3 at lunch, after Gareth Berg deceived Gary Ballance in the 20th over, with Lewis McManus leaping impressively to his left to send the England batsman walking.

The afternoon session was much more evenly contested as Berg and McLaren looked to prevent Yorkshire from transforming their morning’s work into a competitive total.

After McLaren removed the visiting skipper, Andrew Gale (26), Jake Lehmann’s fifty contribution was terminated by Berg, striking for a second time in the 43rd over to dismiss the 24-year-old Australian, who had scored quickly to make 58 runs off 73 balls.

A fifty stand between Tim Bresnan and Andy Hodd took the visitors past 200 before tea, securing a batting point and a foothold in the game against a potent Hampshire bowling attack.

Berg produced an superb eight-ball spell of three wickets for two runs to put Hampshire back in the driving seat during the evening session – his first five-fer for the club unsettling the champions, who were left 224-8 when Azeem Rafiq (5) was caught behind by McManus.

Mason Crane’s deceiving spin and Tom Alsop’s sharp reactions at short leg brilliantly removed Steven Patterson for seven, as Hampshire further reduced the visitors to 234-9.

A 41-run stand from Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom took Yorkshire to 275 -9 before bad light at 85 overs, and play failed to resume.  

Day Two:

Sean Ervine (80) and James Vince (60) delivered an essential hundred partnership as Hampshire came 59 short of Yorkshire’s 281-run total on day two in the Specsavers County Championship at the Ageas Bowl.

Gareth Berg extended his five-fer from day one by removing Ryan Sidebottom to seal career-best figures of 6-56 as Hampshire prevented Yorkshire from securing a third batting point, as the visitors were bowled out for 281 at the start of the morning session.

Ervine and Vince played beautifully to take Hampshire from 3-38 to 199-5 before a flurry of wickets wiped out the home side’s chances of taking a first innings lead against the reigning champions, who are 69-1 and leading by 128 going into the third day.

After Berg secured his best first-class figures, claiming Yorkshire's tenth wicket and taking an impressive 6-56, Yorkshire responded fiercley with the ball, as Will Smith (1) and Tom Alsop (3) were trapped at lbw inside 11 overs to leave the home side 17-2.

Jimmy Adams (23) was evidently disappointed not to contribute more than 23, having looked in good touch, pushing five balls to the boundary and timing his shots beautifully before driving his 46th delivery to Alex Lees at midwicket. Steven Patterson’s slow ball reduced Hampshire to 38-3 in the 15th over.

Vince and Ervine injected real positivity and transformed a desperate score into a competitive one, going to lunch at 77-3 and displaying classy, experienced stroke-play after returning from the break.

After a fifty partnership off just 66 balls projected Hampshire beyond 100, Vince clinched his half-century with a series of elegant cover drives and delicate touches off the pads, facing 70 balls and finding the boundary on eight occasions.

It was a chanceless knock at a crucial point from the skipper and a century partnership put Hampshire in a commanding position, trailing by 136 runs with 7 wickets intact when Vince edged to Adam Lyth at second slip.

Vince’s replacement Ryan McLaren (26) added useful runs alongside Ervine, who raced to 80 and lofted one emphatically down the ground and over the boundary rope at the Hilton end to help Hampshire secure their first batting point.

Hampshire suffered a collapse upon passing 200 though, as six wickets fell for 23 runs in the space of thirteen overs, and Yorkshire led by 59 runs at the end of the first innings.

Brad Wheal claimed Lees' (12) wicket for the second time in the match to reduce Yorkshire to 39-1, after Berg had prevented he and Lyth (37*) from making quick progress at the start of the second innings by bowling four maiden overs from his first six in the evening session.

The visitors are 69-1, with Gary Ballance (17*) joining Lyth, and lead by 128 runs going into day three.

Day Three:

Brad Wheal took the only wicket of a third day heavily impacted by bad light and intermittant rain, as Yorkshire reached 143-2 and extended their lead over Hampshire to 202 runs during 19 overs of play in the Specsavers County Championship at the Ageas Bowl.

Having begun the second innings by removing Alex Lees in the evening session of day two, Hampshire's promising young bowler Wheal found an edge from Adam Lyth at the start of day three, and Sean Ervine benefited at first slip as he caught the Yorkshire opener for 56.

Wheal's third wicket of the match halted Yorkshire at 101-2, coming shortly after the former England batsman, Lyth, had reached fifty off 100 balls.

The morning session lasted just 16 overs before rain forced the umpires to call an early lunch at 12.45pm, with Yorkshire 134-2 after 39.1 overs, and the afternoon session lasted less than three overs, as the visitors added 9 runs from the 17 balls bowled under dark clouds.

Bad light prevented any further action, meaning the reigning champions will begin the final day 143-2 after 42 overs in the second innings against Hampshire. 

Day Four:

Hampshire secured an important draw with reigning champions Yorkshire as rain prevented an evening session on day four of their Specsavers County Championship encounter at the Ageas Bowl.

Gareth Berg took his 200th first-class wicket as Yorkshire declared on 238-5, presenting Hampshire with a 298-run target for victory before Jack Brooks reduced them to 84-4 and rain set in to seal the draw, from which the home side take nine points.

Brad Wheal removed Gayle (19) with his second ball of the day and finished the innings with 3-79, but conditions that had already ruled out 90 overs of the match wiped out the evening session to seal an important result for Hampshire, looking to avoid relegation. 

On a day which ended with low cloud and wet covers, Hampshire began day four in high spirits, at least certainly after two overs.

Wheal claimed the wicket of Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale (19) with just the eighth ball of play to reduce the visitors to 143-3 and supply an ideal start for Hampshire’s bowlers, attempting to force an opening against the reigning champions.

When Gary Ballance (72) chopped on to leg stump in the 53rd over, Gareth Berg halted Yorkshire’s push for victory at 189-4 and secured a memorable accolade of 200 first-class wickets. Having taken six wickets for 56 runs in the first innings, Berg continued to bowl well on day four, opening with a maiden over.

With a lead of 248 runs and with 87 overs remaining in the day, Yorkshire’s batsmen prepared a declaration by increasing the strike rate, with a real chance of snatching victory at the Ageas Bowl. Shortly after Andy Carter dismissed Tim Bresnan (27), who lofted the ball to Berg at mid-off, Yorkshire declared with a 297-run lead and presented both teams with hope of victory.

Lunch was taken 15 minutes early, moments after the declaration, as rain set in and threatened to decide the contest.

The players returned to the field just ten minutes later than scheduled, with Hampshire needing 298 runs and Yorkshire’s bowlers looking to take ten wickets. Within the first three overs of Hants’ innings, the visitors claimed their first as Ryan Sidebottom’s pace trapped Will Smith (4) at lbw.

Smith’s replacement, Tom Alsop (18), announced his arrival with a beautifully-timed cover drive to the boundary off his first ball and carried Hampshire to fifty with Jimmy Adams as the home side confronted Yorkshire’s victory charge with firm resolve.

The resistance suffered a series of blows before tea, as Brooks took three wickets in 12 balls, Alsop pulling to Azeem Rafiq at square leg and Yorkshire’s slip cordon catching Adams and James Vince. Vince produced two fine boundaries before edging his 13th ball to Bresnan at first slip, leaving Hants 74-4.

Ervine (10*) and McLaren (4*) made brief introductions before an the players were called off for bad light and tea was taken early, followed by showers throughout the break and persistent rain after tea.

Hampshire, looking to climb above Durham, Lancashire or Warwickshire and evade relegation from Division One, take nine points from the match and remain in eighth place, with Yorkshire unmoved in second.