Hildreth and Buttler rally Somerset
James Hildreth and Jos Buttler made hundreds to push Somerset to within 71 of Hampshire’s first-innings total, but the LV= County Championship Division One clash at the Rose Bowl looks to be heading to a stalemate.
Hildreth’s 106 and Buttler’s unbeaten 105 - the England Under-19 international’s maiden first-class century - held together the Somerset middle order as Hampshire scented a collapse and the possibility of a first win of the season.
Deputising for England’s Craig Kieswetter, Buttler’s previous highest score was just 36.
The dismissals of Marcus Trescothick and Arul Suppiah in the final session yesterday appeared to give Hampshire the momentum.
But Zander de Bruyn's was the only wicket to fall before lunch as his off stump was uprooted by David Griffiths, the pick of the Hampshire attack as he ended the day with four wickets.
Hildreth needed only 63 balls to reach his half-century on a very playable Rose Bowl track, which made for some delicate shot selection by the 25-year-old.
Liam Dawson, bowling his first overs in the championship this season, was aghast after lunch as Neil McKenzie dropped Hildreth at first slip with the batsman on a relatively modest 57.
The following over, though, Hampshire had a breakthrough in bizarre circumstances as Nick Compton was run out for 49 chasing a second.
Griffiths’ direct hit failed to knock off the bails, but as the ball ricocheted to Dawson the two batsmen were indecisive and the young Hampshire all-rounder’s throw to Rangana Herath made sure of the dismissal.
Despite that setback Hildreth progressed to his first hundred of the season, eclipsing his 99 against Lancashire last week, by pulling Sean Ervine for the 12th four of his innings.
He survived until the third over after tea, when he cut Griffiths to James Tomlinson on the boundary. His partnership with Buttler was worth 105.
But 19-year-old Buttler took on the mantle to keep the runs flowing and, after losing partner Peter Trego - caught behind off Griffiths for 35 - went to three figures, off 188 balls and with 11 fours and a six.