Leaders Notts edge ‘attritional’ first day of huge County Championship clash with Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl

Leaders Nottinghamshire edged the first day of the top-of-the-table LV = County Championship clash against Hampshire, bowling out the hosts for 226 before negotiating a tricky last seven overs to close on 29-1.

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 7:09 pm
Nick Gubbins top scored for Hampshire as they were bowled out for 226 on the opening day of their Championship Division 1 game by leaders Notts at The Ageas Bowl. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images.

Opener Haseeb Hameed - only playing after England’s final Test against India was cancelled - fell late in the day to a fine delivery from Keith Barker that he nicked to Tom Alsop for two, writes IAN McCULLOUGH.

But Ben Duckett and Ben Slater survived until bad light brought play to a conclusion at The Ageas Bowl with Notts trailing by 197 runs with nine wickets in hand.

Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat on a morning tinged with blue skies and overhead cloud and Nottinghamshire took full advantage of the new ball by dismissing openers Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland cheaply.

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Weatherley fell for 11 after he edged Brett Hutton to Duckett at slip and was joined back in the pavilion five balls later when Holland (3) was struck on the pad in front of his stumps by Luke Fletcher, the Championship’s leading wicket-taker (this was his 60th wicket).

Alsop, who has failed to pass 50 in his last 14 innings, departed for 16 when he was bowled by Dane Paterson as Hampshire limped to lunch on 45-3 having struggled against the swing and movement generated by the Notts attack.

James Vince and Nick Gubbins steadied the ship for the hosts with the skipper stroking four sumptuous fours, but in almost trademark fashion he was dismissed for 30 when he flashed at a wide ball from Hutton and snapped up at slip by Hameed to leave his side struggling at 87-4.

The unfortunate Joey Evison saw four catches go down off his bowling with Gubbins having three lives on his way to a half-century and Liam Dawson surviving a tough diving chance that was spilled by Paterson at mid-wicket.

But the teenager got his just reward when he cleaned up the left-hander with a magnificent delivery to dismiss the on-loan Middlesex man for a somewhat fortuitous 54.

Dawson smashed a huge leg-side six on his way to 31 before he fell to a ball from Paterson that caught the edge of his bat and Duckett took a smart catch at second slip.

Resuming after tea at 175-6, all-rounders Barker and James Fuller fell soon after the restart for 19 and 13 respectively with Paterson and Hutton each picking up their third wickets.

Brad Wheal survived four balls before his stumps were uprooted by Notts skipper Steven Mullaney as Hampshire slumped to 193-9.

Felix Organ earned his side a potentially crucial bowling point with 36 in a final wicket stand of 33 with Abbas before Fletcher ended the innings to pick up his second wicket.

Organ said: ‘It was tough, we were aiming for about 200 and then see where we are from there.

‘It was quite wet this morning and we thought the wicket might divot and quicken up throughout the day and tomorrow as well. Hopefully it will be harder to bat on tomorrow.

‘Obviously you can't judge until both teams have batted on it but at the moment we are quite happy with that score.

‘The stats from the last 70 games say that if you bat first you have a higher percentage of winning. It was a bit of a risk, but we need to win the game to have any chance of winning the Championship.’

Notts bowling coach Kevin Shine, a former Hampshire player, added: ‘It was attritional.

‘The wicket had a little bit of moisture in it. We bowled really well in the first session but in the second and third session we didn't really bowl at the stumps as much as we would have wanted to. But to bowl them out for 226, that is a solid day for us.

‘We think it is probably a par score what they have got, it is one of those wickets where you have to work hard whether you are batting or bowling and your concentration has to stay up the whole time.

‘It is going to be a really tough few days to come.’