Keith Barker admits Hampshire have 'uphill battle' to avoid defeat at Somerset

Keith Barker. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Keith Barker. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
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Keith Barker admits Hampshire face ‘an uphill battle’ to avoid County Championship division one defeat against Somerset at Taunton.

The Ageas Bowl outfit head into the final day trailing by 406 runs with nine wickets remaining. 

The visitors added just 20 to their overnight score on day three. They were all out for 349, which placed them 59 behind Somerset after the first innings.

Somerset were in rampant mood again with the bat second time round. Azhar Ali (79), Tom Banton (79) and Tom Abell (58) all made half-centuries as the hosts declared on 358 for eight.

Mason Crane took three wickets but went for 122 runs, while Barker and Edwards (both two for 58) and Kyle Abbott (one for 57) claimed the other scalps.

Set 418 to win, Hampshire made a nightmare start and finished 12 for one at stumps, with Ollie Soames registering a second duck of the match.

Barker knows the away side are going to have to fight hard to clinch a draw against the leaders.

The all-rounder said: ‘When you don't start a game well, as was the case with us here, you can find yourself up against it and we are facing an uphill battle from this position.

‘It is not an impossible one because the pitch has been good to bat on and bowlers have been punished when not getting balls in the right areas. We have to scrap as hard as we can.

‘The injuries to Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley make it even more of an uphill task. But if we can dig in from the start we still have a chance.

‘I was pleased with my bowling today and how we bowled as a unit for much of the day. There were some tired legs towards the end and Somerset took advantage.’

Banton believes Somerset can wrap up victory if their bowlers put Hampshire under pressure.

He said: ‘As a group we talked about getting a lead of 400 and then pulling out towards the end of the day.

‘That's how it worked out and if we bowl well we now have a very good chance of winning the game.’