White: Hampshire will fight to save draw
GILES WHITE is hoping Hampshire duo Ryan McLaren and Tom Alsop can pile on the runs to respond to Surrey's blast in the County Championship clash at the Ageas Bowl.
Gareth Batty and Ben Foakes both scored centuries as Surrey piled on the runs on day two.
Batty and Foakes, 110 and 141 respectively, added a county record 222 for the eighth wicket as the visitors declared on 637 soon after tea.
In response Hampshire crumbled to five for two before recovering slightly to 73 for two at the close – still a massive 564 runs behind.
But McLaren and Alsop built a partnership of 68 runs before the close.
Director of cricket White is hopeful Hampshire can still save the game.
He said: ‘It was a very long day in the field. It is tough on a good wicket to bat on.
‘I’m pleased with the way the boys stuck to their task but Surrey are in a good position in this game.
‘We rallied well from the early wickets and hopefully McLaren and Alsop can pile on a big partnership which is what we needed.
‘We were looking to bat time and it was a good opportunity to dig in and get some big scores. We have a big batting line up and we have to make use of it.’
Left-armer Mark Footitt was the thorn in Hampshire’s side – bowling Will Smith for a golden duck with his first delivery, kissing the top of off stump.
At the start of his second over he strayed slightly towards leg stump.
But Jimmy Adams clipped straight to Stuart Meaker at mid-wicket, and the hosts were up against it following five sessions in the sticky heat.
Footitt ended his first spell of seven overs with two for seven.
Ryan McLaren, boosted to number four in the order, got away with two edges to the slips, dropped by Aaron Finch and Rory Burns, to reach 31 at stumps, ably accompanied in a 68-run partnership by Tom Alsop.
The hosts had just about edged a tight morning session as they grabbed three wickets.
Steven Davies was leg before to Gareth Berg and Finch, on a blustery 86, was lbw to McLaren.
All-rounder Sam Curran completed the trio of wickets to fall when he trundled down the track to give Lewis McManus his second stumping of the game.
But that was it in terms of smiles for the home side as runs flowed and records were broken.
Foakes, who is an outsider to solve the England wicket-keeper conundrum, did his international chances no harm as he appeared to bat without pressure.
The former Essex man was setting new personal records, passing 2,000 Championship runs, 2,500 first-class runs and just before the declaration his highest format score – ending up on 141.
He reached 50 off 102 balls, then the next 50 needed just 47 more deliveries.
It was his sixth century, while skipper Batty was in the process of just his third – his career spanning 14 years more.
Batty had not scored a ton in 209 matches, dating back to 2006 and his days in a Worcestershire shirt.
His was aggressive when possible, with two sixes clattering the stands, as he got to 100 in 132 balls.
In amongst all the run making was Mason Crane, forced to bowl a mammoth 51 overs in the sweaty weather – his analysis three for 210.
A dropped catch at first slip by Sean Ervine and a tired miss-field with the third new ball summed it up as the declaration could not some soon enough.
The final score of 637 became the second highest total in the Ageas Bowl’s 13-year history – and left Hampshire needing 488 to avoid the follow on.
White praised the way his men stuck to their task in the field.
He felt Crane kept plugging away on a pitch that didn’t help the cause.
‘We bowled a lot of overs as a group and Mason stuck to his task,’ added White.
‘He is a young bowler learning all the time. It wasn’t offering him a lot but he bowled well.
‘If he was a bit luckier he could have got a few more wickets.’
White also explained the move to push McLaren up the batting order.
He said: ‘Ryan has been batting as well as anyone and we felt with Liam Dawson being away for this game it is a like for like swap.
‘It looks a good wicket and played that way but as the game goes on it might get uneven, hopefully for us it stays as it is.
‘At this stage of the season playing for a draw is important for us.
‘We will do everything we can to get that result.’