KYLE ABBOTT admitted Hampshire are lacking in confidence following a woeful day with the bat against Essex.
James Vince’s side are heading towards a heavy defeat after the third day of their County Championship division one clash at Chelmsford.
Hampshire trail the hosts by 263 runs and have been forced to follow-on.
After Essex registered a first-innings score of 435 all out, the visitors were skittled out meekly for 172.
Joe Weatherley and Liam Dawson top scored with 32, while Abbott( 28 not out) offered some late resistance.
When forced to bat again, Hampshire finished on 17 for two at stumps.
Abbott knows his side face a stiff task of avoiding defeat.
And the South African, who claimed bowling figures of five for 90, feels Hampshire’s batsmen are not showing their true ability.
‘These two days haven’t been great for us, to be honest,’ said Abbott.
‘We‘ve really been behind the eight-ball.
‘We had a good opportunity after lunch on the first day to rein them in and bowl them out cheaply, but we let it slip.
‘As for the batting, I think the boys are a bit scared. It’s just a confidence thing in this format.
It isn’t just this game, it’s been happening for a while now. I get a feeling that they’re scared and not backing ourselves and it’s showing in our scores.
‘It’s disappointing after coming in from a great win last week,
‘It certainly has been the pattern over the past couple of years.
‘Since I’ve been at Hampshire we’ve had a tendency to be on top of the world one week and down at the bottom the next.
‘I’m not too sure where the problem lies, but we’re certainly working on it.
‘It’s going to be a battle for us, a war of attrition and if the remainder of the batsmen can bat 80-100 balls each, which I don’t think is a big ask – we are professional cricketers after all – hopefully we can come out the right side.’
Peter Siddle was the scourge of Hampshire with the ball. The Australian fast bowler delivered figures of two for 22 in the first innings.
He then ripped through openers Weatherley (nought) and Jimmy Adams (eight) in Hampshire’s second innings.
Sam Cook (three for 27) and Ravi Bopara (two for 30) also impressed with the ball for Essex.
Ian Holland (one not out) and Abbott (three not out) will resume at the crease on the final day’s play this morning.