Keith Barker played key roles with bat and ball as Hampshire completed a resounding ten-wicket LV= County Championship win over Somerset inside three days at Taunton.
The 35-year-old left-arm seamer began by contributing a valuable 36 to help his side extend their first innings total from an overnight 144 for five to 280 all out, Aneurin Donald making 57 and James Fuller a rapid 38.
That gave Hampshire a lead of 69. Barker then got to work with the ball, combining extravagant swing with nagging accuracy to claim six for 27 from an unbroken 13-over opening spell as Somerset crashed to 25 for six before being bowled out with the scores level.
Opener Felix Organ hit the required single for victory off the fourth ball of Hampshire’s second innings and his team took 21 points to Somerset’s four to enhance an impressive start to the Championship campaign.
The day began with the visitors trailing on first innings by 67. Ben Brown failed to add to his overnight score of 19 before being pinned lbw by Peter Siddle with the total on 152.
At 154 for six in the 59th over the ball had to be changed for the second time in the innings. By then Donald was showing a desire to get on the front foot, profiting from some sweetly timed drives as he and Barker ate into Somerset’s lead.
A key moment came on 195 for six when Donald, on 29, was dropped by Craig Overton at gully off Josh Davey.
It was an error the home side could ill afford. Barker had moved confidently to 26 when greeting the introduction of England spinner Jack Leach with a six and a four off his first two balls.
The first of those shots put Hampshire in front. The next delivery saw Barker caught at mid-wicket, but Donald went to a 74-ball half-century before falling to the second new ball, bowled by Siddle.
Kyle Abbott fell cheaply to Overton, but Fuller ensured Hampshire of a meaningful advantage, striking 4 fours and two sixes as Somerset bowled poorly during a last wicket stand of 24 with Mohammad Abbas.
Overton and Siddle ended with four wickets each. But momentum was with Hampshire and a series of wretched shots contributed to the home side’s nightmare second innings.
Tom Lammonby was caught behind for a duck off Abbas, while opening partner Matt Renshaw was trapped lbw on his crease by Barker to make it 12 for two.
Tom Abell followed a leg-side delivery from Barker and glanced a catch to Ben Brown before Tom Banton top-edged an ill-judged pull off Abbas to give the wicketkeeper another victim.
James Hildreth moved to 18,000 first class runs with a single to get off the mark, but it proved his only contribution as he was bowled by a full, swinging ball from Barker.
A similar delivery saw Lewis Gregory fall leg-before and Somerset were in disarray. Overton helped Steve Davies add 32 before being bowled by another full Barker delivery for 13.
The home batting line-up lacked the technique to cope with the swinging ball. Another loose shot saw Davies, on 19, have his leg stump uprooted by Abbott.
Jack Leach was brilliantly caught at cover by Nick Gubbins, having middled a drive off Abbott. After Davey had brought the scores level with a glanced boundary off Barker, an embarrassing Somerset batting effort ended with him being bowled next ball shouldering arms.
Hampshire closed on 144-5 at the end of a rain-shortened second day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Hampshire at Taunton.
The visitors looked to be cruising towards a first innings lead when reaching 107 for one in reply to 211, Ian Holland leading the way with 49.
But the final session saw Overton produce an inspired seven-over spell, removing Holland and James Vince, as Hampshire lurched to 117-4 before closing on 144-5.
Early morning rain created a wet outfield and no play was possible before lunch.
The action got underway at 1.40pm with Hampshire immediately looking to be positive and make up for lost time.
Felix Organ, unbeaten on 15 overnight, played Overton through the offside for four, but in the same over, the second of the day, he threw the bat at a wide one and edged a chest-high catch to Lewis Gregory at third slip.
New batter Nick Gubbins faced a testing start. But Somerset’s seam attack, Overton apart, were unable to match the nagging accuracy of their Hampshire counterparts on the opening day.
Some loose deliveries allowed Gubbins and Holland to take the total to 63 for one from 26 overs when a problem with the ball led to it being changed.
It was 69-1 when the rain returned to cause a break in play. Holland had moved to 36, playing and missing at times, but also employing careful shot selection to take few risks.
Play resumed at 3.20pm and Gubbins soon produced the shot of the day, a superbly timed back-foot stroke that sent the ball racing past bowler Gregory for four.
Gubbins followed up with two boundaries off the next over, sent down by Josh Davey, and was looking in ominous form.
He had moved to 26 when more rain sent the players off. Tea was taken, with Hampshire 95-1 from 36 overs, with Holland unbeaten on 44.
There were 19 overs left in the day, all but one ball of which were bowled as Somerset took four final session wickets, with Ian Holland being the first go to, edging a Craig Overton delivery behind to Steven Davies.
Siddle then struck in controversial circumstances when Gubbins, on 36, was judged caught behind by umpire Alex Wharf stretching forward to a ball just outside off stump.
Gubbins stood for several seconds in disbelief over the decision before dragging himself off. Before they knew it, Hampshire were 117-4 as Vince fell lbw to an Overton delivery that nipped back off the seam.
Ben Brown and Liam Dawson quickly added 27 before what proved the last delivery of the day saw Dawson trapped lbw playing across a ball from Gregory.
Kyle Abbott led an impressive display by Hampshire’s seamers on the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Somerset at Taunton.
Having won the toss, the home side were restricted to 211 all out, Abbott claiming three for 60. He was well supported by Mohammad Abbas, Ian Holland and James Fuller, who claimed two wickets each.
Somerset were unable to break loose from the stranglehold imposed by the disciplined line and length of their opponents, combined with swing and just sufficient movement off the pitch.
Matt Renshaw, Tom Lammonby, Tom Banton, Steve Davies and Craig Overton all got starts. But Overton’s 44 proved to be top score in a disappointing batting effort.
By the close, Hampshire had replied with 29 without loss and trailed by 182 runs
With the pitch at the Cooper Associates County Ground showing tinges of green, particularly in one narrow strip down the middle, eyebrows were raised when Somerset skipper Tom Abell elected to bat first.
But there looked nothing wrong with the decision when Renshaw and Lammonby, fresh from century stands in the previous two games, made a solid start.
Abbott was introduced for the 13th over and beat Renshaw with his first ball of the game.
The Australian responded with two boundaries in the same over. But Abbott made the first inroad with the score on 37 when Lammonby, on 16, edged a full delivery to second slip.
Renshaw was looking in good touch. But, having reached 27, he chased a wide delivery from Holland and presented a second catch to Liam Dawson.
Somerset were 55 for three when Abell fell in unfortunate circumstances, defending a ball from Abbas and watching the ball trickly back to remove his off bail.
An intense morning’s cricket ended with the hosts 58 for three off 30 overs at lunch.
James Hildreth could contribute only eight before falling lbw to Abbas pushing forward, the decision being made by his former Somerset team-mate Ian Blackwell.
Banton curbed his attacking instincts to play responsibly for 24 off 77 balls before being pinned lbw on the back foot by Abbott with the total on 94.
Lewis Gregory edged a third catch to Dawson, off Fuller, and Somerset were in a deep hole at 113 for six.
Davies overcame an uncertain start to lead a mini recovery before becoming the first player in the match to succumb to spin, edging Dawson’s seventh delivery to slip and departing for 29.
At tea, the scoreboard read 154 for seven, with Overton unbeaten on 22.
Overton rode his luck at times, before lofting Abbott into the on-side and falling to a catch by Felix Organ.
Jack Leach and Peter Siddle had their stumps disturbed by Holland and Fuller respectively, leaving Davey unbeaten on 22.
Hampshire were left with an awkward 15 overs at the end of the day. Organ or Holland navigated through the remaining overs without getting a nick as the visitors completed a highly satisfactory day.