Hampshire fightback gives coach plenty to ponder

Michael Carberry. Picture: Neil MarshallMichael Carberry. Picture: Neil Marshall
Michael Carberry. Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire showed their mettle as they battled through a rain-affected third day against Somerset at the Ageas Bowl.

Dale Benkenstein was pleased to see his troops display their fighting spirit to reach 173 for four by the close in the County Championship division one clash.

But Hampshire’s first-team coach was left searching for reasons why his side are playing their best cricket when they are under the pump.

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The home side will resume this morning 82 runs behind but with six wickets in hand and a realistic hope of salvaging a draw.

Benkenstein said: ‘We’re getting good at fighting back.

‘Getting into those situations is the problem.

‘It was clear what we had to do, we knew the weather was going to play a part but we had to get things right in our camp first.

‘At least there are still six wickets to go, so whatever happens today we feel we can fight for some points.

‘It’s disappointing we’re getting helped by the rain.

‘We do seem to bat better in the second innings and I’m trying to work out why and how we can rectify it.

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‘I do agree some of the wickets have been tough but a few times we’ve batted better on a wearing pitch than we have when the wicket was quite evenly paced.

‘That is disappointing because then you very seldom have a chance to win.’

Tom Alsop struck 53 and Will Smith notched 33, with Michael Carberry (37 not out) and Sean Ervine (34 not out) unbeaten overnight.

Benkenstein added: ‘We got in. We all got in in the first innings, too, but it’s about making those things count.

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‘Tom is a young player, so you can accept a few mistakes from him but the consistency he’s shown over the last six weeks is very promising.

‘It’s the senior players who have seen it and done it that you really want to stand up and put a big score on the board.

‘There are two of them in, so if that partnership goes for a long time we’ll be fine.’