Hampshire close on triumph
Hampshire moved to within touching distance of their first LV= County Championship Division Two win of the season after an excellent day for their bowlers against Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl.
The visitors were always up against it and, resuming their first innings on 159 for five, lost their last five wickets quickly this morning to be dismissed for 206 in reply to Hampshire’s 500 for nine declared.
Jimmy Adams’ side duly enforced the follow-on and Worcestershire fared little better, being reduced to 153 for five by the close.
Worcestershire began day three in disappointing fashion; first, James Tomlinson - who claimed 3-52 - trapped Neil Pinner lbw for 29, before Sean Ervine bowled Michael Johnson to leave Worcestershire in deep trouble at 189 for seven.
Worse was to follow just a few balls later when spinner Danny Briggs struck in his first over of the morning, trapping Gareth Andrew lbw for five.
With the follow-on target of 351 now all but impossible, Hampshire's bowlers wasted little time in polishing off the Worcestershire innings.
Briggs struck again to remove Richard Jones for seven, before medium pacer Ervine had last man Alan Richardson caught by George Bailey to close the Worcestershire innings at 206 all out.
Unsurprisingly Hampshire, who took five wickets for 47 runs in little more than 20 overs during the morning and led by 294 on first innings, asked their opponents to bat again.
Openers Daryl Mitchell and Matthew Pardoe survived an awkward pre-lunch session - narrowly in the former's case, as he was dropped behind the stumps by Adam Wheater off Chris Wood - but Hampshire's bowlers were quick to make inroads after the interval.
Pardoe was the first batsman dismissed, wicketkeeper Wheater this time making no mistake to give Wood a deserved scalp.
Moeen Ali, the sole Worcestershire batsman to reach 50 in the first innings, was next to depart, trapped lbw by the impressive Tomlinson to leave Worcestershire 47 for two.
That brought overseas star Thilan Samaraweera to the crease and, together with captain Mitchell, he dug in to frustrate Hampshire's bowlers until tea.
A drinks break in the evening session did the trick for Hampshire, Samaraweera's 93-ball knock ending when Briggs bowled him through the gate for 27.
Alexei Kervezee followed soon after, bowled by James Vince, before Pinner was dismissed for the second time in the day when leaving a straight ball from Liam Dawson.
At 143 for five, Hampshire sniffed the chance of victory inside three days, but Worcestershire held on until the close - Mitchell the sole batsman to show any real fight, unbeaten on 71.