Hampshire skipper Vince ‘dangles carrot’ – but Leicestershire refuse to chase victory target in rain-wrecked Championship draw

Rain quashed Hampshire's push for victory against Leicestershire as a match dominated by the weather finished in a draw at The Ageas Bowl - despite James Vince ‘dangling a carrot’ in front of the visitors.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 1:40 pm
Kyle Abbott now has 33 Championship wickets in seven games in 2021. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images.

After the start of play on the final day was delayed by three hours due to a wet outfield, Leicestershire avoided the follow-on by one run after a last-wicket stand of 30 from Ed Barnes and Alex Evans helped their side limp to 84 all out in response to Hampshire's first innings score of 233.

With 22 overs of the day remaining, Vince opted during the tea break to forfeit his side's second innings and place an enticing 150-run victory target in front of Foxes skipper Colin Ackermann, writes IAN McCULLOUGH.

But the Championship Group 2 cellar-dwellers refused to take the bait, blocking out 17 overs for 26 runs, losing only opener Sam Evans who became Kyle Abbott's seventh wicket of the match in what was a typically high-class bowling performance.

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The players shook hands at 6pm with four overs of the day remaining, shortly after a moment of mild moment of controversy when Australian Marcus Smith looked to have edged Keith Barker to Liam Dawson at slip, but much to the chagrin of the all-rounder it was adjudged not to have carried.

Just 80.5 overs were bowled across the first three days before play finally got underway at 2pm with the Foxes resuming on 28-5 and needing another 55 runs to make Hampshire bat again.

Abbott bowled superbly for his 6-47 - his third successive five-wicket haul after the 11 he picked in the victory over Middlesex last week. He now has 33 wickets for the season from seven matches.

Hampshire, chasing their fourth win of the season, struck in the third over of the day when Abbott had Harry Swindells caught superbly by Dawson for eight.

Two further rain delays accounted for 11 more overs but Abbot and Mohammad Abbas, who took 3-19, continued to run amok in perfect bowling conditions as the visitors slumped to 54-9 when Abbott ended the admirable resistance of Rishi Patel for 27.

However, the young fast bowling duo of Barnes and Evans dug in manfully as Leicestershire nudged their way past the follow-on target before Lewis McManus took a simple catch when Brad Wheal located the edge of Jones' bat.

Vince admitted: ‘From what play there was we dominated.

‘The weather got the better of us and the 230 we got on that pitch in the first innings was a good effort and got us ahead in the game, and bowling them out so cheaply gave us a small chance.

‘But given there was no play for so much of the game it was always going to be difficult.

‘We thought when we forfeited our innings they might come out with a bit more intent and we dangled a bit of a carrot.

‘They have not won too many games, and we thought they may see it as an opportunity, but they shut up shop and the game petered out in the end. But there was no lack of effort from us.’

Leicestershire coach Paul Nixon admitted his team were tempted to try and chase down the target.

‘It was seven an over, but on this surface we felt it wasn't achievable,’ he declared.

‘Had we been down 3-10 or 3-15 then you are up against it. To battle so hard to save the follow-on and take time out of the game was really important to us.

‘The two bowlers we were up against (Abbott and Abbas) were high class.’

Hampshire now have their first week-long break of the season, and are next in Championship action against Somerset at Taunton on June 3.

Scores: Hampshire 238 and 0-0 (forfeited innings) v Leicestershire 84 and 26-1.

Hampshire 12 points, Leicestershire 11.