Hampshire fight back in evening to give themselves chance

Brad Wheal in action for Hampshire.  Picture: Neil Marshall
Brad Wheal in action for Hampshire. Picture: Neil Marshall
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GILES WHITE was pleased with Hamsphire’s effort in the field in the opening day of their County Championship division one game against Middlesex.

The visitors ended on 290 for six at the Ageas Bowl, with Brad Wheal the pick of the bowlers, registering figures of two for 69.

But the hosts bowled with a man light for the majority of the day, after Fidel Edwards went off injured.

Batsman Rilee Rossouw was also retired early and may have chipped a bone in his finger.

Captain James Vince & Co battled hard in the evening session to even up the contest – turning a score of 220 for two into 290 for six.

Hampshire director of cricket White said ex-West Indian international Edwards and Rossouw will be assessed before tomorrow morning’s play.

He said: ‘Fidel has a hamstring niggle which has kept him off the pitch.

‘We will reassess him but it was disappointing not to have him out there because he was starting to hit his straps and bowling very well when he had to come off.

‘The others had to fill in but Gareth Berg and Kyle Abbott bowled very well, with the others supporting them well for a good team effort.

‘We think Rilee has chipped a bone in his finger, which is disappointing.

‘We will look tomorrow to see if he can bat or not.

‘He is new to the club and started so well in the first game but that’s the way it is.

‘It is difficult to say if they will play again in this match. We will have a better idea in the morning.

‘Right now it doesn’t look great but we are hopeful Rilee will come through it.

‘Fidel, obviously, didn’t go back on and he was desperate to go back, so you think from that he is unlikely to bowl again but you never know.

‘We came back well and the boys stuck to their task well.

‘We were a little slow up front and missed a couple of chances but overall we are relatively pleased.’

Sam Robson and Steve Eskinazi both scored half-centuries for Middlesex.

Robson has a knack of scoring early season runs and went for 84 when he nicked Berg to Jimmy Adams.

The evening found Hampshire finally turn a reasonably one-sided day around – with four wickets falling in the session.

Firstly, Dawid Malan guided the impressive Wheal to Sean Ervine at first slip, before the Zimbabwean bowled Eskinazi for 82.

Adam Voges scored 24 quickly before he chopped Abbott onto his own stumps.

Wheal dismissed John Simpson went for just nine.

– ALEX SMITH