Northeast: Hampshire will be in ‘good shape’ if they can post 300 in first innings against Middlesex at The Ageas Bowl

Sam Northeast believes Hampshire will be in ‘good shape’ if they can take their first innings past 300 in their second LV= Insurance County Championship clash of 2021 against Middlesex. ¶

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 7:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 7:51 pm
Ian Holland on his way to 64 against Middlesex. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images.

A gritty 35 not out by No 8 Kyle Abbott, off 108 balls, helped the hosts recover from an ominous-looking 221-7 to end on 281-8 after James Vince had won the toss on a bitterly cold morning at The Ageas Bowl and elected to bat.

Opener Ian Holland (64) and Northeast (63) were the two batsmen to post half-centuries as Middlesex turned in a disciplined performance with the ball, writes IAN McCULLOUGH.

Hampshire withstood some tight bowling to be 77-1 at lunch with Joe Weatherley the man to depart after being brilliantly stumped for 16 by John Simpson off Ethan Bamber.¶

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Sam Northeast walks off after being dismissed off the bowling of Martin Andersson. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images.

But after bowling well without much reward in the opening session, the visitors dominated after the restart as Hampshire lost five wickets for 125 with the recalled Steve Finn dismissing the previous week’s Grace Road centurions Tom Alsop (19) and Liam Dawson (22).¶

Holland, who was dropped on nine, made Middlesex pay for that carelessness with gritty knock before edging the impressive Toby Roland-Jones to Sam Robson at slip. ¶

Vince, fresh from his brilliant 231 in the innings victory at Leicestershire, looked in superb touch with two sumptuous boundaries. ¶

However, his short visit to the crease was ended for a run-a-ball nine when he attempted to cut a short delivery from Martin Andersson but could only find the hands of his Middlesex counterpart Steve Eskanazi at slip. That left Hampshire 143-4.¶

Hampshire's Joe Weatherley is stumped by John Simpson off the bowling of Ethan Bamber. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images.

Northeast steadied the ship with a classy half-century but wickets continued to fall around him with Dawson sweeping Finn, in his first red-ball match since September 2019, to Andersson at mid-wicket. ¶

Lewis McManus(4) then shouldered arms to spinner Nathan Sowter and saw his stumps re-arranged as Hampshire crawled to 202-6 at tea.¶

Northeast, who had looked relatively untroubled at crease, brought up his 50 off 74 balls but departed shortly after the restart when he played at a wide delivery from Andersson and Simpson took a smart, low catch.¶

Despite the floodlights being on and facing the new ball, the Hampshire tail wagged with Abbot and Mason Crane adding 31 for the eighth wicket.¶

Crane fell for 18 to Bamber, but Abbott held firm alongside an obdurate Brad Wheal in the final hour until bad light stopped play with two overs of the day remaining.

‘It was a tricky spell for us there at the end with lights on and the new ball and the lads did well to hang in there and take us to the close,’ said Northeast.

‘If we can add another 20 or 30 tomorrow and move past 300 I think we will be in good shape.’