DALE BENKENSTEIN believes Hampshire’s batsmen must take a leaf from Daryl Mitchell’s book to drag themselves back into their Championship clash at Worcestershire.
The Worcestershire skipper was 105 not out overnight but carried his bat for the entire innings, eventually running out of partners as he remained unbeaten on 206.
His marathon knock lasted more than nine hours, as he faced 413 balls and included 25 fours as he put his team in a commanding position with a first innings total of 478 all out.
In reply, Hampshire are already tottering at 86 for three but the first-team coach remains positive that his batsmen can emulate Mitchell with a big innings of their own.
Benkenstein said: ‘If anything we can learn from him (Mitchell).
‘That’s the sort of knock we are crying out for at the moment.
‘We would like to have that because it sets up the whole game and people can bat around him.
‘I don’t think there was much more we could do. It was a very good innings from Mitchell.
‘Now we’ve got to fight.
‘The most important thing for me is for one of our batters to get a big score.
‘If someone can get 100 or 150, we may still be a little bit behind but it would do a lot for our confidence.
‘All the batters look pretty comfortable at the crease but they can’t seem to get past 30-40.
‘In four-day cricket, those contributions are meaningless really.
‘But it’s a good opportunity and I still think the wicket is pretty good.
‘Hopefully, two guys can get in and put a good partnership together.
‘If two batsmen can get two good scores, I think it will do a lot for our season.’
Resuming on 228 for five, Worcestershire made steady progress with useful contributions down the order from Joe Leach (59), Ben Cox (23) and Jack Shantry (21).
But it was Mitchell who led the way with a demonstration of application and concentration – the kind of innings that has been beyond Hampshire all season so far.
In reply, Sean Terry (nought) fell in the first over before skipper Jimmy Adams (20) followed.
Michael Carberry (36) looked like he was set for a long stay but was pinned lbw by Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, who will surely become more of a threat as the game goes on.
James Vince (29 not out) and Will Smith (one not out) reached the close with Hampshire still 392 runs behind.
Benkenstein felt the long period in the field had taken its toll on the batsmen as his team lost early wickets.
He said: ‘I was hoping we would only be one wicket down.
‘The new ball is always going to be a little bit difficult and having fielded for 130-odd overs, concentrating for those two hours was going to be tough.
‘But two dismissals were balls they should have hit. There was nothing mysterious about them.
‘That’s to do with a bit of form and fielding for a day and a half. You have those lapses of concentration.
‘But there is an opportunity for us to turn it around.’