Adams rolls back the years for Hampshire
Hampshire's James Vince failed to capitalise on a good start in front of England selector Ed Smith, but Jimmy Adams rolled back the years with a watchful half century on another truncated day against Essex.
Vince batted with incredible maturity on a testing wicket to reach 47, but it was Adams who stole the show by passing the 73rd first-class fifty of his career.
New selector Smith was in attendance at the Ageas Bowl, with Alastair Cook, Jamie Porter, Tom Westley, Liam Dawson and Vince the most likely players to being under the spotlight.
But Porter and Vince were the only two candidates able to show off their skills in front of the former Kent and Middlesex man.
Fast bowler Porter took 75 wickets to help Essex to the Division One title in 2017, and after nine wickets against Lancashire last week, appeared on course to copy his mega-haul.
But he was out bowled by canny Australian Peter Siddle – who managed to find more movement and bounce than his fellow seamers – as he went wicketless for 47 runs.
The overseas signing proved the point when he had Joe Weatherley caught at third slip by Nick Browne, having dropped the batsman the previous delivery.
Thick slate coloured clouds, along with the floodlights, made it good bowling conditions, but Adams and Vince nullified any Essex advantage with sensible and patient batting.
Vince, in particular, seemed to have Smith’s presence in mind as he moved away from his trademark drives to knuckle down with nudges and doggedness.
There was still the opportunity to show off a few flourishes as he attempts to score early season runs to cement his place in the Test team, with extravagant pull shots played with high skill but very little risk.
Just when he appeared in his comfort zone, off-spinner Simon Harmer found extra bounce as Vince attempted to cut, with James Foster completing a smart catch.
Smith’s gaze on the south coast may have come too late in Adams’ career – with the veteran left-handed batsman likely to retire at the end of the season.
Although he insisted only a bucketful of runs could persuade him to carry on, and having already smashed 182 not out against Cardiff MCCU and his haul during this match may be enough to alter his mind set.
Adams, who was unbeaten on 19 overnight, looked like a man unlikely to be hauled away from the crease as he left and defended with experience.
He took 138 balls to reach his half century and was left 57 not out when the bad light prevented any more action shortly before tea.
With only 45 overs possible as play was eventually abandoned at 5.45pm with Hampshire 154 for two.
- Alex Smith