Balcombe defends bowlers as cunning plan reaps rewards

Action from the 2000 match between Hampshire and Kent - the last played at Burnaby Road

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David Balcombe insisted the swinging conditions made Hampshire’s bowling look worse than it actually was after Glamorgan fought back on day two of the County Championship division two clash.

The Hampshire seamer – who became the leading wicket-taker in the country with 31 victims after picking up four for 91 – was pleased with his team’s efforts on a green Ageas Bowl deck that was prepared to help the bowling attack.

Balcombe reckons the fact wicketkeeper Michael Bates was sent hurtling off in different directions at regular intervals was down to the conditions – not inaccuracy – as Glamorgan claimed a first-innings lead of 11 runs.

He said: ‘When the ball passed the batsman, they would go near him and then would just keep swinging.

‘I felt quite sorry for Batesy at times because it goes against him.

‘It looks a lot worse than it actually was because the balls were near the batsman.

‘Then the crowd gets on your back a bit at times.

‘I was trying my best to get them on target but if they were going slightly down the leg side, they just kept going and going.

‘It was hot, I had a headache at times but we plugged away and eventually got our rewards.

‘It was probably about par in the end.

‘I was a bit surprised and disappointed they went past our first innings but they took a leaf out of our book and came out swinging, so the tail wagged.

‘I thought we bowled pretty well on a decent pitch.’

Balcombe, who has been working on swinging the ball both ways, enjoyed his battle with Marcus North – a batsman who briefly appeared for Hampshire in 2009.

The bowler said: ‘I’ve been doing a lot of stuff on swinging the ball.

‘I decided to hide the ball and North wasn’t picking me up at all. It was swinging massively back into him.

‘He didn’t know which way it was going and it’s always nice when a batsman shoulders arms and you see the off pole flying back!’

With Jimmy Anderson the undisputed king of swing in this country, Balcombe admits he uses the England man as inspiration.

Balcombe said: ‘I was watching Jimmy Anderson last week and I was thinking “how do you do that?”

‘He is just a master of it and I would like to be a quarter of the bowler he is.

‘There’s a bit of work to do before I get to that level but it’s really nice to be back in the wickets.

‘We have got to bat well to set the game up and put them under pressure in their final innings.

‘Then it will be up to us bowlers to win the game.’