Benks keeps the faith

Sean Ervine. Picture: Neil Marshall

Sean Ervine. Picture: Neil Marshall

James Christian is back to boost Portsmouth. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bowling attack must step it up to lift Portsmouth

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Dale Benkenstein never felt his team had blown their promotion hopes – despite their disastrous start to the County Championship contest at Glamorgan.

Hampshire were reeling at 53 for five on the morning of the first day in a game they knew they would probably have to win.

And while other teams might have panicked or crumbled in the face of adversity, Benkenstein kept the faith as James Vince (144) and Sean Ervine (107) hit superb centuries to put their team back in command.

The Hampshire coach said: ‘I didn’t think we would definitely recover but I didn’t think we had blown it either.

‘Before the game, I tried to use a bit of experience and told the players “it is four days, so try not to get ahead of yourselves at any stage of the game.”

‘A bad session is just a bad session and there is still heaps of time to get back from it.

‘It just takes one partnership and you are back on track again.

‘I told them not to worry about what was going on in the other game – with Essex needing to win and going well against Worcestershire.

‘At 53 for five, if you think you have blown it, that tends to be the case.

‘But if you keep everyone stable and in the moment, I always knew one partnership could change things and I knew we batted fairly low down the order. There was a lot of hope there.

‘It wasn’t just the partnership between Vince and Ervine.

‘The way they played was like they were on a different pitch.

‘The wicket was really tough and they scored at four runs per over.

‘There were some hints of some really special-quality cricketers.

‘We were under real pressure in that first session.

‘But we showed a lot of courage to come back from that and it was a convincing performance.’

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