Abbott Five-For Sees Hampshire To Dominant Draw

Kyle Abbott claimed his second five-wicket haul in as many games as Hampshire drew with Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl

Day One

Hampshire fought back positively on day one to ensure a balanced end to day one of the opening Specsavers County Championship fixture against Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl.

Sam Robson and Steve Eskinazi both scored fifties for the visitors before getting out in their 80s with the pair adding 105 for the second wicket.

But Hampshire, who bowled with a man light for the majority of the day after Fidel Edwards went off injured, battled hard in the evening session to even up the contest – after turning 220 for two into 290 for six at the close.

James Franklin decided to have a toss and duly won it and elected to bat – the Middlesex captain looking down not up with overcast skies overshadowed by a decidedly flat looking pitch.

Robson has a knack of scoring early season runs and he began this knock in style clipping Edwards through mid-wicket to the boundary with the first delivery before following up with two further fours soon after.

But the fast paced opening was dulled as Gareth Berg and Kyle Abbott tidied up – with Edwards forced to sit out the rest of the day after his 21st over hamstring injury, after previously pulling out of a delivery in the run-up.

Robson lost his opening partner to a corking ball from Edwards – the bowler finding some late movement to find the edge before second slip Rilee Rossouw pulled off a stunning low catch.

After a century stand with Eskinazi, Robson finally departed for 84 when he nicked Berg to Jimmy Adams.

The evening found Hampshire claim four wickets in the session, Malan guiding the impressive Brad Wheal to Sean Ervine at first slip, before the Zimbabwean bowled Eskinazi for 82 three overs later – the ball clipping the very top of off-stump.

Adam Voges, who suffered a head injury at the Ageas Bowl last year, scored 24 quickly before he chopped Kyle Abbott onto his own stumps.

John Simpson struggled by scoring just nine in 58 balls before he woftily drove Wheal to substitute fielder Mason Crane at point.

Day Two

Michael Carberry struck an excellent unbeaten half-century to help Hampshire remain in contention on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl.

Carberry, who struck the ball magnificently, batted patiently to record 84* at the close and help lay the initial foundations of Hampshire's innings, after the hosts had earlier dismissed Middlesex for 356 in the morning session.

The left-hander helped steer his side to 113-3 at tea before then kicking on to record his half-century in the evening session of the day, guiding Hampshire to 209-4 at the close.

Middlesex resumed the second day with four first-innings wickets remaining, but it didn't take long for the first of those to fall as Kyle Abbott (2-87) found James Franklin's outside edge with the catch well-held in the slips.

Toby Roland-Jones (39) continued to apply pressure for the visitors, but he also departed, this time at the hands of the impresseive Brad Wheal (4-98) to give him his fourth of the innings.

Another wicket fell the very next ball, this time Liam Dawson (1-72) doing the damage before Wheal completed the innings by trapping Steven Finn  (2) LBW.

Hampshire began positively in reply, Jimmy Adams (34) and Carberry seeing out the final eight overs before lunch, and then kicking on after the interal to reach their fifty partnership.

Adams departed shortly after, and with James Vince (8) soon following, it required Carberry and Dawson to steady the innings.

Both batsman did so and looked comfortable, however the 43-run partnership was brought to end on the stroke of tea as Dawson (19) was adjudged to have edged behind in the session's final over.

Dawson's dismissal brought Ervine to the crease and he looked in good touch from the off, supporting Carberry well whilst also accumulating himself.

Ervine too reached a valuable half-century, and he looked sure to reach the close without issue alonside Carberry, but England's Finn found an inside edge which clipped the stumps to see Ervine depart, with just less than six overs before the close.

Despite some accurate bowling from Finn and Ollie Rayner (2-46) in those final overs, both Carberry and Abbott successfully navigated their way to stumps without further loss.

Day Three

Hampshire trio, Rilee Rossouw (99), Michael Carberry (98) and Kyle Abbott (56 & 3-24) helped their side seize control on day two against Middlesex.

All three batsman struck superb half-centuries to help Hampshire record 438 in the first-innings, surpassing Middlesex's opening 356.

Abbott then continued to make an impact, this time with the ball, taking three of the four Middlesex wickets to fall in the evening session as the visitors closed on 111-4, a lead of 29 runs.

Resuming the day on 84*, Carberry was looking to secure his first four-day century of the season. However, the left-hander fell two runs short of what would have been a well-deserved hundred in the morning session when edging Tim Murtagh on 98.

Despite Carberry departing, Abbott continued to impress with the bat, and he soon moved to record his maiden Hampshire half-century,

He formed a valuable partnership with Rossouw, who was batting with a finger injury - the duo sharing an 80-run partnership for the sixth wicket before being dismissed shortly after lunch.

Rossouw kicked on after the interval, becoming the third Hampshire batsman to reach fifty in the innings and following Abbott to reach his first half-century for the club.

He found the ever reliable Gareth Berg (43) to be a valuable partner in the afternoon session, the pair coming together for a 86-run stand before Berg departed with Rossouw nearing three figures on 93*.

When Brad Wheal departed the very next ball, Fidel Edwards was the man to accompany Rossouw.

The 27-year-old was agonizingly close to what would have been a remarkable century, but was run-out short of his ground coming back for a second run - the final wicket to fall in the innings.

Middlesex began their second-innings 82 runs behind and Abbott was quick to make his presence felt with the ball. The seamer took two crucial wickets inside his opening two overs, finding the edge of both Sam Robson (8) and Nick Gubbins (11) who departed in quick succession.

Brad Wheal (1-25) soon got in on the action too as he clean bowled Dawid Malan (10) who offered no stroke, reducing the visitors to 44-3.

Stevie Eskinazi (45) and Adam Voges (29*) led the away-side's recovery but when the former wafted at one outside off against Abbott and edged through to Lewis McManus, celebrations ensued.

Day Four

Kyle Abbott claimed a superb five-wicket haul, his second in as many games, despite Middlesex standing firm on day four of Hampshire's Specsavers County Championship match at the Ageas Bowl.

Hampshire had looked set to grab victory after a superb effort from Abbott (5-59), Brad Wheal (3-73), Gareth Berg (1-38) and the remainder of the bowling attack, l but the visitors held on into the evening session at the Ageas Bowl.

Both sides took 10 points from the game, as Hampshire remain unbeaten to start to the season after last week's opening round victory over Yorkshire. 

Middlesex had been in defensive mood throughout the fourth day with a slender lead of 27, with six wickets in hand, going into the day.

Adam Voges and night-watchman Steven Finn saw off the first 57 minutes of the morning in defensive style.

Voges in particular looked unmovable, with an LBW shout against him the closest the hosts can to an early scalp.

Finn, who had been prolific in his blocking, was the only wicket to in the morning when he was caught out by substitute fielder Fraser Hay at mid-wicket – after a cunning Brad Wheal short-ball plan paid off.

Voges was joined by John Simpson and the duo added an important 35, with the potential required runs for Hampshire ever chipping further from sight.

The wait for the new ball was worth it though as Abbott struck just three deliveries into the ball’s life – Voges chasing the seamer on the cut to edge behind.

In doing so, Voges became the fifth to pass the mark and fall short of three figures and also the third batsman to fall in their 90s in the match.

Only two more runs were scored before James Franklin then also edged Abbott, this time to Jimmy Adams at second slip with a delightful delivery.

Berg pulled out the delivery of the day when he managed to get one to spit off a length to send Simpson back caught behind just five balls later but that is where the game ended as a contest, as Roland-Jones took the sting out with a time-consuming 25.

The right-hander did depart when he clipped Wheal to Adams while attempting a slog pull and if Hampshire had taken the last wicket quickly there was still time for a thrilling chase but the pair added an unbeaten 26, with 63 put on for the last two stands, before hands were shaken at 4:50pm.