Tough start for Hampshire

Nic McMurray

Burridge stepped up to turn form book around

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It’s a new season, yet some of the old issues are still there for Hampshire.

Of course, it’s unfair to make a judgement on how their Championship division two campaign will pan out based on an eight-over spell under heavy cloud and with a new ball zipping around on a damp pitch.

But there’s no avoiding the fact it was anything but the ideal start to a season as the home side stuttered to 37 for three in the eight overs that were possible on day one of their four-day clash against Worcestershire.

Having lost the toss, there was little doubt Hampshire would be stuck into bat when play eventually started at 2.45pm.

But at around 2.50pm, Michael Carberry was already making his way back up the pavilion steps having failed to lay a bat on five deliveries before he was trapped lbw to Chris Russell for a six-ball duck – the first Hampshire victim of 2014.

Only the cold-hearted would fail to feel any sympathy towards the batsman – unless Ashley Giles was watching.

Carberry’s recent criticism of the England management following his limited overs exclusion has put him firmly in the spotlight.

He will know he needs some serious runs to revive his hopes of further international cricket this summer.

And having put his head above the parapet when others would have kept quiet, he’ll be aware his form will come under intense scrutiny.

Even those selectors who saw fit to look elsewhere for England’s miserable World t20 effort will probably not judge him in such tough batting conditions.

It hasn’t been a great pre-season for the left-hander and he has struggled for runs in the friendly games too.

But the bottom line is it was not the start he was looking for if he wanted to put a marker down in the early phase of the season.

He wasn’t alone though.

Liam Dawson (two) saw his off stump sent cartwheeling by Charles Morris before James Vince – another man with England hopes this summer – lasted just two balls as he edged into the slips to become Russell’s second scalp.

Jimmy Adams, however, appeared to have no such problems with a positive counter-attack.

The skipper helped himself to five boundaries in a brisk 32 not out, while Will Smith (one not out) will be at the crease alongside him when play resumes today.

Hampshire have been guilty of some brittle batting displays in recent years and have been accused of being unable to see out those tough phases of play when the chips are down.

Adams is usually a man to put his hand up in those situations and he will be needed to get Hampshire to a competitive-looking total of around 200.

But there still appears to be every chance of a result.

Meanwhile, this was an improvement on last year.

In their first match of the season, Hampshire were nought for two against Leicestershire in the first five overs as both Carberry and Adams went without scoring.

Progress, at least.

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