Hampshire Secure Draw As Ballance Stands Firm On Final Day

Hampshire secured a draw on day four of their Specsavers County Championship match against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl

Day One

James Vince struck a scintillating century to lead from the front on day one of Hampshire's Specsavers County Championship match against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The Hampshire captain hit his first hundred of the season and looked in excellent form as he guided Hampshire to 281-4 before bad light saw play conclude prematurely on the opening day.

After Yorkshire's Gary Ballance elected for an uncontested toss and took the option the bowl first, the visitors will have been hoping to make early in-roads and they began well - Michael Carberry (6) the man to fall early on as he was caught behind off the bowling of in-form seamer, Ben Coad (3-49), with just nine runs on the board.

However, Vince joined Jimmy Adams (39) at the crease and both looked comfortable following their side's early loss to share a 64-run stand and take Hampshire to 75-1 at lunch.

The second wicket of the day fell with the very first ball following the interval, Adams trapped in front by Coad, who claimed his second scalp of the day.

Adams' departure brought Tom Alsop (40) to the crease and he marked his arrival with two full-flowing straight-drives for four.

Both Alsop and Vince continued to accumulate nicely, the duo adding 82 for the fourth wicket and the pair will have been hoping to take Hampshire beyond the 200 together, before Alsop departed to a good delivery from Steven Patterson (1-42).

But Vince continued following the left-hander's dismissal, taking Hampshire to tea without further loss with 97 to his name at 177-3.

The 26-year-old soon reached a deserved three-figures shortly after the break, a typically stylish back-foot punch through the covers taking him to the landmark, much to the delight of a strong Ageas Bowl crowd.

He was well supported by Sean Ervine (48) and both batsman batted positively to see the run-rate increase markedly in the evening session.

Boundaries flowed frequently and the pair brought up their 100-run stand with the total at 258-3.

The players left the field briefly for bad light with 16 overs remaining in the day, and following the resumption, Ervine departed as Coad caught his outside edge with the catch taken by England's Jonny Bairstow.

Liam Dawson (8*) joined Vince at the crease and passed 6,000 career first-class runs before the players left the field for the final time on day one, once again due to bad light.

Day Two

Gareth Berg recorded a superb 99* before then taking 4-32 with the ball as Hampshire put Yorkshire to the sword on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match at the Ageas Bowl.

After Hampshire lost a flurry of wickets early, Berg helped steady the innings, sharing valuable lower-order stands with both Reece Topley (16 from 67 balls) and Brad Wheal (13 from 68 balls) to take Hampshire to 455 in their first-innings.

The all-rounder then took three wickets for just 11 runs in his opening six over spell, including the scalp of England captain Joe Root, before then returning to take another as the Hampshire bowling unit battled brilliantly to reduce Yorkshire to 128-6 at stumps.

Hampshire began day two with hopes of putting a big first-innings total on the board, but three wickets soon fell for two runs against a swinging ball early in the opening session, including that of James Vince (147) who fell for an excellent century.

Lewis McManus (1) was caught down the leg-side off the bowling of David Willey, whilst the left-armer then managed to strike Liam Dawson (24) in front who also departed shortly after.

Kyle Abbott (22) and Berg led the Hampshire recovery however, the duo sharing a 44-run stand before the former was run-out just before lunch.

Berg continued to impress into the afternoon session, coming together nicely with Topley who recorded his highest first-class score. 

The pair put on a 41-run stand before Topley departed, however Berg persevered and posted a 68-run partnership with Wheal to frustrate the visitors.

The hard-hitting right-hander cleared the rope twice in the innings and found the boundary regulary but when Wheal fell on 13, the innings concluded and Berg was left stranded just one run shy of what would have been a deserved hundred.

Berg was quick to make an impact upon returning to the field however, this time with the ball as Lees (0) departed with just the fourth ball of Berg's opening over.

It didn't take long for the seamer to grab his second and third of the day either, Lyth (8) chopping on before England captain Joe Root (8) poked at a delivery to edge behind to Lewis McManus, leaving Yorkshire 19-3.

The trouble continued for the visitors as the impressive Abbott (1-14) was finally rewarded with a wicket, Peter Handscomb (1) the man to go this time after being trapped LBW.

Topley (0-33) and Wheal (1-32) were then introduced into the attack - the former bowling for the first time for Hampshire in a first-class fixture - and provided an early test for the new batsmen.

Wheal soon picked up his 10th wicket of the season and it was the prized scalp of England's Jonny Bairstow with the right-hander pinned in front and dismissed LBW.

Gary Ballance (63*) led the Yorkshire fightback and reached his half-century late in the evening session, but with the total at 94-5 Hampshire ensured they regained the momentum before the close - Tim Bresnan (21) the man to depart after feathering behind to McManus.

Day Three

Hampshire's bowling attack battled hard in their efforts to put their side in a winning position on day three of the Specsavers County Championship clash against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The bowlers fought well to bowl the visitors out for 231 before lunch in their first-innings, despite a century from Gary Ballance (108), with Gareth Berg (4-62) the pick of the bowlers. With the deficit still 224 runs, the follow on was then enforced and Hampshire made early in-roads, again courtesy of Berg (1-24) alongside Kyle Abbott (2-41).

A 150-run partnership between Gary Ballance (78*) and Alex Lees (70) in the second-innings led the Yorkshire recovery, before Abbott removed Lees in the session's final overs to see the away-side finish 178-3 at the close, still 46 behind with one day remaining.

Brad Wheal (2-63) claimed the first wicket of the day in his opening over, Adil Rashid (34) drilling his drive to James Vince at mid-off who took a good catch.

Another wicket soon followed, Liam Dawson picking up the scalp of England's David Willey (8) who was clean bowled.

Ballance eventually went on the bring up his three figures but he departed soon after, as Dawson found his outside edge and Sean Ervine produced a fantastic diving catch to ensure Hampshire picked up maximum bowling points.

Reece Topley (1-56) then grabbed his first Hampshire wicket when he had Ben Coad (5) caught at first slip, the final wicket of the innings also marking lunch.

Hampshire elected to enforce the follow-on during the interval and began excellently courtesy of Berg who found Lyth's (6) edge in just the fourth over of the innings.

Abbott also quickly got in on the action, the seamer claiming the prized wicket of England Test captain Joe Root (2) who was trapped LBW to leave Yorkshire struggling once again at 20-2.

However, Lees and Ballance came together and occupied the crease well despite tight spells from the Hampshire bowlers.

The duo looked to be taking their side to the close without further loss, but a late burst from Abbott accounted for Lees - the left-hander prodding outside-off to feather through to McManus - to keep Hampshire dreaming of victory in tomorrow's day four.

Day Four

Hampshire fought admirably on but were thwarted in their efforts for Specsavers County Championship victory against Yorkshire in their four-day fixture at the Ageas Bowl.

Hampshire remain unbeaten with the result and come out the clash with 11 points to Yorkshire’s eight – to keep their title bid on track.

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance (203) started the day on 78 not out and turned that into three figures mid-way through the morning off 210 balls.

The Zimbabwean-born man appeared in little danger on a flat track with an old ball getting softer.

Hampshire had been kept in the field for over two days – having ended their first innings at tea on day two and forced their visitors to follow-on.

They were also hindered as for the second game in succession they were forced to bowled with a bowler light – with Brad Wheal nursing a side strain.

Hampshire were waiting patiently for the 19 morning overs before they would be rewarded with a new ball, with which they believed would allow them to force a win.

But the hosts managed to strike to end an 88-run stand between Ballance and Australian star Peter Handscomb.

Handscomb went too early with a flick to the leg side to chip a leading edge back to bowler Liam Dawson (1-88).

The new cherry arrived and worked immediately as Kyle Abbott (3-65) forced England's Jonny Bairstow into a thick edge with the first delivery after changing balls – James Vince completing the wicket with the catch.

Yet Ballance battled well despite the harder ball and continued to drag the game towards a draw.

With Tim Bresnan, the pair added slow runs to make any potential chase disappear whilst holding strongly onto their wicket.

Ballance, who had become the first Yorkshire skipper to score a century in both innings in a match, brought up his 150 in 336 balls.

The duo put on 94 runs for the sixth wicket in 42 overs before Bresnan fell shortly after tea when Reece Topley (1-87) found his outside edge to feather behind.

Ballance cut away to the boundary to bring up a double century from 384 balls and with that, at 4:50pm, James Vince and Ballance shook hands to finalise the result.