Hampshire: Craig White predicts tight finish at Taunton

Mason Crane, right, had Chris Rogers stumped. Picture: Neil Marshall
Mason Crane, right, had Chris Rogers stumped. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

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Craig White reckons Hampshire’s County Championship division one showdown with Somerset at Taunton could go right to the wire.

The home side reached stumps on day two 81 runs adrift of the visitors with five first-innings wickets in hand.

Hampshire, who are scrapping for their lives in the top-flight of the competition, will be hoping to wrap up the Somerset innings quickly tomorrow morning before pushing for glory.

White believes the secret to early wickets could be reverse swing after the pitch did not offer as much assistance to spin as first expected.

However, he acknowledged his bowling attack would have to raise their game to gain the upper hand in the contest.

Hampshire’s first-team coach said: ‘The pitch hasn’t deteriorated as much as we expected.

‘I would say the game is even at this point with the potential to go to the wire.

‘Our spinners did not bowl as well as Somerset’s which we need to talk about.

‘We need to improve 15 per cent with the ball and in the field tomorrow.

‘They batted well and clearly had a game plan to dominate our spinners.

‘Now the ball has started to reverse swing, so tomorrow morning we may elect to chip away with spin at one end and seam at the other.’

Hampshire began the second day on 281 for six.

However, they slipped to 303 for nine before rallying with a valuable last-wicket stand of 35 between Brad Wheal and David Wainwright, who contributed 35 not out.

Somerset then reached lunch on 40 without loss but Marcus Trescothick fell soon afterwards as he was caught at long-on off the bowling of Wainwright (two for 70).

His disappointment was matched by that of Chris Rogers, who had made only 11 when giving leg-spinner Mason Crane (one for 62) the charge and offering a leg-side stumping to Lewis McManus.

Abell, who had reached his half-century off 67 balls, profited from a couple of reverse sweeps as confidence grew.

But he then aimed a cross-batted paddle at Wainwright and departed leg before wicket for 79.

At tea, the score was 170 for three.

And that became 183 for four when James Hildreth (40) swung across the line and was trapped in front by Will Smith (one for 48).

Peter Trego and Jim Allenby added 69 for the fifth wicket before the former drove to mid-off where Smith took a tumbling catch.

Bad light and light rain then brought play to a halt at 5.40pm.

Somerset top scorer Abell said: ‘We looked to bat positively and we are pretty happy with the position we are in.

‘There was a bit in the pitch for the spinners and we had to work hard.

‘The ball came on to the bat better when it was new but also turned more when it was harder.’