Predictable draw at Rose Bowl

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Damien Wright

Damien Wright progressed from an overnight 17 to 51 as Somerset made certain of a draw against Hampshire

Hampshire’s winless early season run continued as they played out a high-scoring draw with Somerset on a flat pitch at the Rose Bowl.

Hampshire, who had lost their opening five games in all competitions, at least managed to halt that damaging run, but with a draw all but sealed yesterday after Somerset’s batsmen filled their boots on a placid pitch, the final day’s play was tepid fare.

Resuming on 441 for six and with debutant Jos Buttler, fresh from a maiden first-class century, still at the crease, the pattern of play was simple for Somerset – bat, bat and bat some more.

Buttler went on to make 144 in Somerset’s 524 and Hampshire reached 37 for two before the match was declared a draw.

In partnership with Damien Wright, Buttler remained cool and composed at the crease, showing the same dogged determination and decent range of shots which characterised his fuss-free progression to three figures yesterday.

Hampshire used 10 bowlers and were toiling. But with Somerset in sight of 500, the hosts claimed their first breakthrough today.

With 499 on the scoreboard, left-arm spinner Liam Dawson claimed his first LV= County Championship wicket of the season, drawing a leading edge from Wright, not long after the Somerset batsman had claimed a deserved half-century.

The game was low in intensity but Buttler continued to impress but, after tail-ender Ben Phillips chopped an attempted cut off Rangana Herath into his stumps, Buttler began to open his shoulders.

With his score on 144, he chanced his arm once too often, holing out to Dawson at long-on to give Herath another scalp.

And the innings finally ended when last man Charl Willoughby was cleaned up by a Herath delivery which kept low.

Hampshire did their best to make the tie interesting, beginning their second innings in abysmal fashion when Jimmy Adams edged Willoughby to Marcus Trescothick for a duck in the first over.

His fellow opener Michael Carberry followed in near identical fashion just two runs later.

But even the most excitable of Somerset fans were unable to muster anything other than lukewarm enthusiasm, as Dawson combined with the experienced former South Africa batsman Neil McKenzie to prod Hampshire timidly to the close and a first positive result of the season.

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