Dimi Mascarenhas pulled no punches after the Hampshire bowlers struggled and admitted: We won’t get promoted playing like that.
The former England international was back in the County Championship side for the first time since last August after he was selected ahead of spinner Danny Briggs on a seamer-friendly pitch.
But Mascarenhas delivered an honest assessment on his return and did not spare himself from criticism after Gloucestershire reached 349 for seven having been put in to bat.
Mascarenhas, who opened the bowling alongside new recruit Sohail Tanvir, said: ‘We put them in and the wicket probably didn’t do as much as we thought but let’s be honest, we didn’t bowl as well as we should have – especially up front.
‘I think we wasted the first six overs at least and then we started to get into it.
‘Credit to them – they batted well but we will have to bowl better than that if we want to push for promotion.
‘I’ll be honest, the first three overs I bowled weren’t great and I wasn’t very happy with them.
‘The sign of a good team is that they are on it from ball one.
‘Sohail got a wicket in that first over, which set us up nicely.
‘But as a unit, I don’t think we got the ball in the right areas enough.
‘For them to get 349 and only seven wickets down, you’ve got to ask some questions of yourselves.’
With the first day washed out, it seems a late change in strategy saw the all-rounder given the nod ahead of Briggs.
Mascarenhas explained: ‘I only knew the night before I was playing.
‘After the first day got washed out and the conditions were green and overcast, it was decided we probably didn’t need the main spinner in Briggsy.
‘It’s a tough one because Briggsy has done pretty well but the idea was to play the extra seamer.
‘The conditions were supposed to suit me and they did but I just didn’t bowl well enough at the start.
‘But it’s been a long while since I last played four-day cricket.
‘I missed the last few weeks of last season, so it’s good to be back in the whites and hopefully able to contribute to a successful season for us.’
While the 35-year-old returned decent figures of two for 40 from his 18 overs, he wasn’t happy with his early efforts and issued himself with a few words of advice.
He smiled: ‘You can make all the excuses in the world – and it wasn’t swinging very much – but I have played long enough to get it in the right spot.
‘Maybe I was trying a bit too hard yesterday.
‘It’s amazing. I’ve played a long time but you get in that situation and you try a bit hard.
‘I just told myself “pull your head in and start bowling the ball in the right area”.
‘That was pretty much it! But there is still a long way to go.’