Hampshire: Abbott demands bowlers deliver win

Kyle Abbott. Picture: Neil Marshall
Kyle Abbott. Picture: Neil Marshall
Gareth Berg. Picture: Neil Marshall

Berg backs Hampshire’s bowlers to shine

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Kyle Abbott insists Hampshire will only have themselves to blame if they fail to complete victory over Worcestershire today.

The Ageas Bowl outfit have reduced their visitors to 59 for three in pursuit of 324 for glory on the final day of the County Championship curtain-raiser.

Realistically, we would have to bowl quite poorly (not to win)

Kyle Abbott

Abbott took all three of those wickets – after weighing in with 51 in the home side’s second innings of 244.

And the ex-South Africa Test bowler reckons it will be a surprise if his side do not press home their advantage and win the division one clash.

Abbott said: ‘It goes without saying I think we’re in a pretty strong position.

‘There are only two results now, so we will look to make early inroads this morning.

‘Once we pick up a couple it’s going to go pretty quickly for us as four-day cricket usually does on the final day.

‘It starts to pick up pace and that’s how we played over the first three – to set up a win on the last day.

‘Realistically, we would have to bowl quite poorly (not to win). There is still plenty in that wicket.

‘It’s going up and down – and it’s still nibbling about. I think it would take a big effort from them. Nothing is impossible but we have got the ball firmly in our court.’

With Worcestershire needing 324 to win the game, Abbott quickly had the visitors in trouble when he had Brett D’Oliveira leg before wicket for one.

A prolonged rain interruption saw the entire afternoon and most of the evening session wiped out.

But play did resume for an awkward 16-over spell before stumps and Abbott struck twice more to finish with three for 27.

‘I wasn’t in the greatest rhythm to be quite honest, I struggled a bit,’ said the seamer.

‘The run-ups are still a bit wet and now and then you slip on the crease and lose your body position a bit but it was key to pick up those wickets.

‘We would have liked one more if we are going to get a bit greedy.

‘It was an ugly period for them to bat but to put two more on the board was great for us.’

Hampshire began the day on 163 for eight in their second innings – Abbott four not out.

The 30-year-old, from Natal, had run South Africa star Hashim Amla out for 36 shortly before the close on Saturday evening.

He added: ‘I lost a little bit of sleep after running out the best batsman in the world!

‘But I came out with a little bit of fire in my belly, tried to dig in and play the best I could for the team.

‘Wheally stuck in brilliantly and they started to go a bit quieter in the field when the lead crept towards 300.

‘It was nice to contribute but I probably stole a few of Hash’s runs.’