Ervine Ton Helps Hampshire Secure Draw at Taunton

Sean Ervine scored a second century as Hampshire sealed a draw with Somerset in the Specsavers County Championship

Day One:

Sean Ervine registered his second Specsavers County Championship century of the summer to boost Hampshire's tally to 281-6 on day one against Somerset, an impressive feat on a Taunton pitch which favours the spinner.

The Zimbabwean all-rounder spent over five hours finely-crafting his ton, facing 200 balls to steer Hampshire back on track after a testing morning saw the visitors lose experienced top order batsmen, cut to 92-4 before lunch.

Ervine's hundred partnership with South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren (61) embodied Hampshire's resolve, before Lewis McManus (41) and Gareth Berg (12) made further progress with the bat before close.

With James Vince returning from international duty and Sean Ervine recovering from an ankle injury, Hampshire’s hopes of securing back-to-back wins in the Specsavers County Championship were significantly boosted.

Hampshire were pegged back by Somerset though, losing four wickets before lunch on day one after opting to bat first on a turning pitch at Taunton, which would increasingly favour spinners as the match developed.

Will Smith (16) looked solid, after Jimmy Adams was bowled by Lewis Gregory in the fourth over, and Adam Wheater (21) seemed in good shape with the bat as he hit 21 off 36 balls but both Hampshire batsmen were deceived by the spin of Roelof van der Merwe.

Ervine was the stand-out performer for the visitors on day one, batting at three and facing over 100 balls in the morning session to supply some stability and move Hants to 93-4 after Vince (0) lost his wicket to Jack Leach.

The experienced all-rounder reached his fifty after lunch, hitting five fours off 98 balls, and combined well with McLaren to put Hampshire in a more commanding position during a progressive afternoon session.

The two left-handers had completely nullified Somerset’s spinners by mid-afternoon and were batting with real freedom as Ervine drove back-to-back fours to help take the partnership to 82 at tea.

The evening session saw McLaren reach fifty for the sixth time in the County Championship this summer and surpass 5,000 first-class runs, affirming his ability as a genuine all-rounder for Hampshire.

Ervine then secured a second first-class ton of his benefit year, hitting ten boundaries off 200 balls, as the visitors began to assert their dominance with the bat, responding brilliantly to a difficult start to the day.  

After Ervine was trapped at lbw by Jack Leach, McManus and Berg secured a second batting point as the visitors passed 50 and finished day one against Somerset on 281-6 - a score made all the more satisfying by the state of play at lunchtime.

Day Two:

Newly-signed spinner David Wainwright scored 35 not out and took two Somerset wickets on an equally contested second day in the Specsavers County Championship at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, where the home side trail Hampshire by 81 runs.
Wainwright, Hants' latest acquisition, boosted the visitors' total to 338 before helping restrict Somerset's reply to 257-5, taking advantage of a turning wicket until bad light stopped play, as both sides took three bonus points from the innings.
Mason Crane crucially dismissed Chris Rogers (11), with skipper Will Smith and Ryan McLaren taking the other wickets, as Somerset's Tom Abell resisted Hampshire's pressure by scoring 79. 

Abell, who has not enjoyed the best of seasons in four-day cricket, hit 79 off 132 balls, with 11 fours, sharing an opening stand of 87 with Marcus Trescothick (36), as the hosts closed on 257 for five.

Peter Trego contributed 42, James Hildreth 40 and Jim Allenby 37 not out, but none of the home batsmen were able to push on to the big score needed to establish control of the game.
Earlier, Jack Leach had finished with six for 108 as Hampshire added 57 to their overnight score of 281 for 6, David Wainwright making a valuable 35 not out. The Somerset left-arm spinner now has 43 first class wickets to his name this season.
The ball turned from ball one of the day, but more for the Somerset spinners, whose counterparts were unable to settle on the right pace to exploit the pitch to the full.
From an overnight 281 for six, the visitors slipped to 303 for nine before a valuable last-wicket stand of 35 between Brad Wheal and David Wainwright, who contributed 35 not out with the ball deviating considerably for Leach and fellow left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe (three for 99).
Leach sent back Lewis McManus (43), Mason Crane and Wheal, but Hampshire could feel satisfied with their efforts as both sides collected three bonus points from the innings.
Somerset were left with nine overs to bat before lunch and reached the interval on 40 without loss, Trescothick and Abell surviving comfortably against six overs of seam and three of spin.
Trescothick looked in little bother until trying to hit Wainwright over the top and falling to a catch at long-on. His disappointment was matched by that of Chris Rogers, who had made only 11 when giving leg-spinner Mason Crane the charge and offering a leg-side stumping to McManus.
Abell, who had reached his half-century off 67 balls, profited from a couple of reverse sweeps as confidence grew, but then aimed a cross-batted paddle at Wainwright and departed lbw.
At tea, the score was 170 for three. That became 183 for four when Hildreth, who was looking in good touch, swung across the line towards the short boundary on the town side of the ground and fell leg before to Will Smith.
Trego and Allenby then added 69 for the fifth wicket before Trego hit a checked drive in the direction of mid-off where Smith took a tumbling catch.
Bad light and spitting rain brought play to a halt at 5.40pm. With the requisite number of overs already bowled, the umpires abandoned any hope of a resumption at 6pm with honours even.

Day Three:

Ryan McLaren and Mason Crane took key wickets but Hampshire’s bowlers were otherwise resisted on a rain-affected day three in the Specsavers County Championship against Somerset, who took a 196-run lead at Taunton, finishing 534-7.

McLaren ended Jim Allenby’s (56) progress and Crane removed Lewis Gregory (61), before Roelof van der Merwe (91) and Craig Overton (97) put on an eighth wicket partnership of 164 in a dominant evening session for the home side. 

Having posted a 338-run total and restricted Somerset to 257-5, Hampshire’s hopes of securing a second away victory in the County Championship were ultimately dashed by rain, which ruled out any play in the morning session and impacted the final overs of the day.  

The day began with persistent drizzle, causing the players to take an early lunch at 12.20pm as 13 overs were lost. It seemed a shame that weather should impact such a finely-poised game.

McLaren and Crane took a wicket each in the afternoon session, in which Somerset surpassed Hampshire’s 338-run total and established an 84-run lead before tea.

McLaren crucially ended an assured contribution from Allenby, who edged to McManus shortly after reaching fifty and taking the home side to exactly 300. McManus reacted superbly, having expertly stumped Chris Rogers for 11 on day two.

Gregory’s 70-run partnership with van der Merwe – the third man to hit a half-ton - frustrated Hampshire’s bowlers and carried Somerset to within 30 runs of a fifth batting point.

Crane crucially dismissed Gregory and, as Sean Ervine coolly caught, Hampshire had hope of restricting Somerset to less than 400.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the pair of van der Merwe and Overton put on a 164-run stand for the eighth wicket and, after another rain interruption, finished the evening by hitting 37 off three overs to project Somerset's total to 534-7.

Day Four:

Sean Ervine's second hundred in four days at Taunton helped Hampshire secure a crucial draw with Somerset on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match.  

Ervine reached his century off 148 balls and put on a second-wicket partnership of 159 runs with Jimmy Adams, as Hampshire posted 254-5 to chase down Somerset's first innings lead of 249 runs, after the home side declared on 587-8.

Adams scored the 70th fifty of his first-class career but was cruelly denied of a 22nd century, hitting 96 runs off 268 balls before edging Jack Leach - the final major event before the players shook hands.  

Craig Overton and Roelof van der Merwe both reached their first centuries for Somerset at the start of day four, setting the club’s record eighth wicket partnership and extending the home sides lead to 249 runs before Mason Crane dismissed Overton, provoking a declaration at 587-8.

Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine reacted to the early dismissal of Will Smith in exemplary fashion, producing a 159-run partnership with their backs to the wall to project Hampshire’s score from 6-1 to 165-2 and reduce the home side’s lead to 84.

Adams established a strong defence and steadily built towards his fifty, scoring 38 of the hundred partnership and reaching his half-ton off 169 balls, using his experience to play the situation.

On the evidence of Hampshire’s visit to Taunton, Ervine responds particularly well to pressure. Having scored 103 to recover a collapse on day one, the Zimbabwean all-rounder hit a series of boundaries and maximums to reach his second century of the match off 148 balls.

Ervine’s cool ton supplied a degree of comfort for Hampshire, who had been faced with the task of batting out 96 overs to seal a draw against Somerset, eventually falling to the bowling of Craig Overton after making 106.

James Vince (13) started sharply alongside Adams, hitting three boundaries before tea, but Somerset reduced Hampshire to 202-4 when the England batsman and his replacement Adam Wheater (0) were both deceived by Roelof van der Merwe. 

Adams was cruelly denied of his ton, just four away when he edged Jack Leach to Marcus Trescothick, having faced 268 balls during almost 5 hours in the middle at Taunton.

With Somerset still in the hunt for a win inside the last hour, needing five more wickets, David Wainwright completed the job for Hampshire by blocking the final overs of the day, having batted superbly for his 35 not out in the first innings.