Hampshire haul themselves back after horror start

David Balcombe took five wickets against Lancashire to put Hampshire in control Picture: Neil Marshall
David Balcombe took five wickets against Lancashire to put Hampshire in control Picture: Neil Marshall
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A day that started dismally for Hampshire, improved immeasurably and then ended about honours even on day one of the County Championship division two clash with Lancashire.

James Tomlinson had already leaked seven runs from the opening over of the contest before David Balcombe took the new ball at the other end.

After three boundaries, three no-balls and 21 runs later, Lancashire had moved on to 28 without loss inside two overs.

It was just about the worst possible start a bowler could make to a four-day match.

But if there was a textbook for making the right response, Balcombe’s five wickets for 92 was surely it.

Lancashire, who recovered from the loss of former Hampshire star Simon Katich to a head injury in the morning net practice, had raced away to 54 without loss inside 11 overs when Tomlinson (two for 42) made the breakthrough to remove Stephen Moore (30).

After losing the toss and making a dreadful start with the ball, it was gritty stuff from the home side to gradually drag it back to a position where they were well on top.

But Katich’s late replacement, Andrea Agathangelou, anchored the innings for his side with an unbeaten 93, while Luke Procter’s patient 53 ensured the visitors reached 252 for nine at stumps.

At certain points throughout the day, both sides would probably have taken that but may well both feel they might have done better.

While short showers interrupted play and eventually ended the contest a handful of overs early, it was a bitterly-cold day that saw most players needing several layers of sweaters to stay warm, while Sean Ervine fielded at slip with a woolly hat on – surely a first in late May?

Hampshire, however, may well feel they missed an opportunity for a more commanding position having had their opponents on the ropes at 182 for eight, only to be held up by the tail late in the day.

With all the wickets falling to catches behind, Liam Dawson was in particularly sharp mood in the slips with three scalps after one early error, James Vince also chipped in with an important wicket to dismiss Procter.

Of course, much will now depend on Hampshire’s own batting display.

But if Michael Carberry is in a similar mood to his YB40 150 not out against the same opposition, Jimmy Adams’ side will fancy their chances of establishing a first-innings lead.