Hampshire struggle with Sussex pace

Sean Ervine. Picture: Neil Marshall
Sean Ervine. Picture: Neil Marshall
Have your say

Hampshire learnt what life in County Championship division one is like after a difficult second day of their opening match against Sussex.

The visitors’ fast bowlers ripped through the Ageas Bowl outfit to leave Sussex in control at the end of day two.

Steve Magoffin, Ajmal Shahzad, Tymal Mills and Matt Hobden shared the wickets as Hampshire finished on 220 for nine, still 224 runs behind Sussex.

Hampshire collapsed from 47 to one to 95 for seven, and needed a 109-run partnership from Chris Wood (48) and Sean Ervine (57 not out) to avoid further problems.

Sussex wicketkeeper Ben Brown (144 not out) reached a century as 
the visitors set an imposing target of 444.

Hampshire started their reply briskly, as Michael Carberry (25) and Liam Dawson (22) – who opened instead of Jimmy Adams after the captain suffered a bruised knee when colliding with an advertising hoarding on day one – put on 47, before both batsman fell in successive balls.

The home side’s struggles deepened when Will Smith slashed Shahzad straight at Michael Yardy at second slip without scoring.

Hobden picked up his second scalp when Adam Wheater pushed to Ed Joyce for another duck, before Shahzad struck with the last ball of the afternoon session to see off Adams for four – the hosts flagging on 63 for five.

Hampshire’s Twenty20 and one-day skipper James Vince looked at ease with a run-a-ball 37 but edged Magoffin behind to Brown.

The Australian-born seamer then bagged his second wicket of the season five balls later as Gareth Berg left a straight delivery for the third duck of the innings.

Wood and Ervine guided Hampshire’s recovery as the sun broke through the clouds but the lengthy eighth-wicket stand ended with a sharp catch by Luke Wright at backward square leg, as Wood departed for 48.

Danny Briggs edged the last ball of the day from Mills to Joyce to go for four and compound their poor day.

Although Ervine remains on 57 not out, Hampshire are 71 runs shy of the follow-on score.

First-team coach Dale Benkenstein believes his side can learn some valuable lessons from their second day’s play.

He said: ‘It was not a very good day but it was a good learning day.

‘I think the extra pace and aggression Sussex showed is something we need to learn from.

‘I really felt we had a chance to bowl them out for close to 200 but that’s the difference.

‘There was a glimmer of hope with the partnership, which is great to see as we could have been close to 100 all-out.

‘The sooner you have days like this the better, we now know what we are up against in division one.’

Earlier, Brown struck 17 fours 
in his excellent innings as Sussex plundered valuable lower order runs.

Brown and Shahzad (35) continued to frustrate the Hampshire 
attack, putting on 73 for the seventh wicket.

Briggs tidied up the Sussex tail after the interval as he ended with figures of four for 74 but was outshone by Brown.

Hampshire will resume tomorrow morning still needing 71 runs to avoid the follow-on.