Hampshire struggle as Abell puts Somerset in control

James Vince scored 44 Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince scored 44 Picture: Neil Marshall
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TOM ABELL demonstrated his growing prowess as Hampshire were reduced to 198 for eight by Somerset on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Taunton.

The home skipper, who had claimed only three first-class wickets before the start of this season, took his tally to nine for the current campaign with three for 18 from 8.1 overs of medium pace after winning the toss.

There were also two wickets each for Tim Gronewald and Lewis Gregory as Hampshire collapsed from 86 for one during the morning session.

James Vince (44) and Rilee Rossouw (38) were the main contributors for the visitors.

Rain and bad light prevented any further play after 3.25pm, when an early tea was taken.

Hampshire began confidently against below-par Somerset bowling after being invited to take first use of the same pitch employed against Yorkshire in the previous Championship game.

Jimmy Adams and Joe Weatherly took the total to 44 in the 12th over, before Adams was caught behind pushing forward to Groenewald for 23.

Weatherley, who survived a straightforward chance to Matt Renshaw at second slip off Groenewald when on 13, progressed to 28 without further alarm, but fell lbw to Abell in the 19th over.

Vince looked in good form, displaying some trademark cover drives in collecting 10 fours before edging a swinging delivery from the Somerset captain through to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

At lunch Hampshire were 111 for three.

But the first ball after the interval from Groenewald saw Hashim Amla, on four, strangled down the leg side as Davies claimed his third catch from a feint nick.

Rossouw was soon looking to counter-attack, striking eight boundaries in his aggressive 47-ball innings.

He lost partner Tom Alsop, bowled leg stump Gregory for 20, with the total 165.

Dom Bess claimed his first wicket of the season (Rossouw) to make it 178 for six.

The batsman was distraught at getting a leading edge trying to work the England Lions off-spinner through the leg side and giving a catch to Jack Leach in the covers.

Abell claimed his third wicket when Renshaw held a tumbling catch at second slip to send back McManus.

Rain had been forecast and, although it wasn’t heavy to begin with, poor light prevented a resumption.