Skipper has no worries over middle men

Hampshire skipper Dominic Cork
Hampshire skipper Dominic Cork
Kyle Abbott celebrates a wicket today against champions Essex. Picture: Neil Marshall

Abbott puts champions to the sword

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Dominic Cork shrugged off concerns over Hampshire’s brittle middle order after they turned in a below-par batting display on day one of their Championship clash at Nottinghamshire.

Despite a promising opening partnership between Jimmy Adams (45) and Liam Dawson (37) that yielded 91 runs, Cork’s side then slumped to 218 all out with the skipper digging in for a top score of 48 to boost the total.

Hampshire made a solid start to their innings having been put into bat by the defending champions but suffered a nightmare period just before lunch as they lost three wickets in consecutive balls.

Adams looked bright with six fours before he departed but Johann Myburgh (10) and Neil McKenzie (0) fell in consecutive deliveries to the final two balls of Charlie Shreck’s over just before lunch.

It got even worse for the visitors as Dawson was then undone by Andre Adams with the first ball of the next over to leave Hampshire reeling at 104 for four.

Pothas became one of Shreck’s four victims shortly after lunch and when James Vince (22) was trapped lbw by Adams to leave the score at 166 for six, it was left to Cork and Sean Ervine to edge past 200.

Cork said: ‘There are no worries about the middle order.

‘We’ve played two games of cricket and came out with a positive draw against Durham.

‘The guys know how to score runs and there are no worries from me or Giles White.

‘We just know we need to be more consistent as a side.

‘All in all, we would be disappointed with the position we’re in. As batsmen, we know we have to improve.

‘On that sort of wicket, if we’d have got 300-350, I would have been really happy.

‘But we’re still in the game with 218. It’s obviously not the best first-innings score and we know we’ve got to bowl well.’

The skipper – who came in at number seven – showed no ill-effects of his recent groin injury with an impressive knock that included eight fours.

But he fell just two short of his half-century when he became Adams’ third lbw victim.

The seamer picked up his fifth wicket just before tea when he collected the scalp of Ervine (15) who never really got going.

Cork said: ‘We were delighted to get to 91 without loss but it’s a waste of time lying about it, I was going to bat anyway if we’d won the toss.

‘I didn’t elevate myself up the order – Sean Ervine was having a comfort break at the time and wasn’t quite ready to go in!

‘It was nice to get some runs. It’s always been my job wherever I’ve played to get some vital runs down the order.

‘If we can do that as a side, it obviously helps.’

Having completed an impressive rearguard action to grab a draw with Durham in their Championship opener, it seems they could be facing a similar task at Trent Bridge.

Nottinghamshire had only just started their reply when bad light stopped play and will resume on six without loss today.

Cork said: ‘We have to concentrate on frustrating the opposition – we didn’t do that against Durham but we need to make it difficult for Nottinghamshire to score runs.’