Star men strengthen promotion credentials

James Vince   Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
James Vince Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight

Root: Hampshire talent will embrace Ashes debut

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James Vince and Kyle Abbott put Hampshire in a commanding position after the home side dominated day two of their Championship division two showdown with Essex.

And it was fitting that the two men who have starred all season were the key men once again.

With Essex resuming on 55 for two in reply to Hampshire’s first innings total of 286, Abbott (five for 44) and James Tomlinson (three for 25) destroyed the visitors as they were dismissed for just 121.

While it is not quite the docile batting pitch that is so often seen at the Ageas Bowl, it was not the minefield that Essex made it look.

But while the Essex batsmen will have their own questions to answer, the credit should probably go to Hampshire’s bowling attack who did everything that was asked of them.

None more so than Abbott who does not deviate too often from bowling at a good length and a nagging line at off stump, which tempts batsmen into playing shots they probably shouldn’t.

Abbott removed dangerman James Foster (36) in the first half an hour of the day’s play and he struck again later in the same over to dismiss Jesse Ryder.

The procession continued with Matt Coles (two for 23) also adding some useful assistance as Essex were eventually all out just before lunch to end a miserable session for them.

Despite a lead of 165, Hampshire decided not to enforce the follow-on and chose to bat again.

Michael Carberry (four) and Jimmy Adams (11) fell quickly to leave the home side at 24 for two.

But if Essex had hopes of running through the Hampshire batting line-up, they didn’t account for Vince who was in devastating form.

He reached his century from just 99 balls and was still unbeaten on 154 at the close of play having played some glorious strokes once again.

While Will Smith (78 not out) is also closing in on his century, Hampshire already have enough runs to win the game.

Chances are they will get to lunch with a lead of around 500 and then declare to allow Abbott and Co to wreak havoc all over again.