Bad batting was costly at Essex - decision after winning the toss made sense, says Hampshire first-team coach Adi Birrell

Sam Northeast will need his bowlers firing on day two at Essex. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images
Sam Northeast will need his bowlers firing on day two at Essex. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images
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Hampshire first-team coach Adi Birrell defended the decision to bat after winning the toss despite a painful start to the County Championship match at Essex.

With conditions difficult this weekend due to all the bad weather around it might have seemed a strange move to bat first.

Hampshire fell all out for 118 and Essex gained a big advantage moving on to 147 for three at the close.

But Birrell explained it was down to the history of matches at Essex.

He said: ‘The stats were the reason we batted first.

‘If you look at the stats of how many teams win here batting first it makes sense.

‘We are way behind in the match and we are struggling but I’m not saying the toss is the reason behind that.

‘We didn’t bat very well.

‘It wasn’t impossible to bat out there and it wasn’t spinning square.

‘We were bowled out in less that 40 overs which is not ideal at all.’

Essex look in control with Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara not out for 34 and 50 respectively at the close of day one.

Birrell knows Hampshire need to improve to get back into the game.

They have a lot of work to do.

He added: ‘We can’t get away from the fact we didn’t bat well.

‘We bowled well after tea but didn’t really capitalise on that and let it slip at the end. We have a mountain to climb.

‘It looks a good wicket but history shows it does nip throughout the match.

‘When you get one you can get two or three.

‘We got three quick wickets but we didn’t build on that.
‘There was a good partnership at the end but we needed to control the run rate better.’

Keith Barker picked up two wickets and James Fuller claimed the other for Hampshire before the close.

The visitors will be looking to the bowling attack to work some magic on day two and turn things around.