Hampshire: Dawson is on a Bears hunt

Liam Dawson. Picture: Neil Marshall
Liam Dawson. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Liam Dawson revealed his delight at making a successful return to Hampshire’s County Championship side – before insisting it is too early for talk of relegation.

The all-rounder struck a superb 116 at Edgbaston as Hampshire took control on day one of their first division clash with Warwickshire.

It was a fine comeback for the 26-year-old, who was ruled out of the draw with Durham last week as he prepared to make his international twenty20 debut against Sri Lanka at the Ageas Bowl.

Dawson impressed on his England bow, taking three for 27 in front of his home crowd as the visitors were beaten by eight wickets.

Meanwhile, Hampshire had to settle for a share of the spoils at Chester-le-Street as they remained at the foot of the top-flight table.

It was no surprise then that Dawson was happy with his contribution after Will Smith won the toss at Edgbaston.

But the all-rounder knows there is plenty more work to do if the visitors are to press home their advantage.

Dawson said: ‘It’s a pretty flat wicket but you have still got to get the runs.

‘We now need to put big runs on the board today because – as everyone knows – it’s runs on the board that build a lot of pressure.

‘You are always confident when things are going well but red-ball and white-ball cricket are completely different.

‘I was happy to do well for England last Tuesday but yesterday was a completely different story.

‘Red-ball cricket is different and harder but thankfully it went well.’

Dawson faced 200 balls and struck 13 fours and a six before Keith Barker got him leg before wicket with five overs left of the day’s play.

Adam Wheater shared a 155-run stand for the fourth wicket with the all-rounder and he will resume this morning on 89 not out.

It is imperitive Wheater makes the most of his start – first with nightwatchman Mason Crane and then in partnership with the likes of Sean Ervine, Lewis McManus and Gareth Berg, who are yet to bat.

Hampshire will be aiming to post a commanding first innings score to turn up the pressure on the Bears, who lost key paceman Boyd Rankin through injury after bowling just one over.

And one victory could go a long way to easing the relegation worries at the Ageas Bowl.

Dawson added: ‘We had a good result at Durham last week and dominated that game for long periods.

‘We are bottom of the table but one win away from being out of the relegation zone and that shows how close the league is.

‘Last year we stayed up on the final game of the season. This time there are eight games to go.

‘There is so much cricket to play and so many points to play for.

‘It’s too early to even think about relegation.’