• Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Ballance defiant as Yorkshire set Hampshire tall order

    Gary Ballance top scored for Yorkshire again as they set Hampshire 320 to win in an intriguing game at Headingley

    Yorkshire set Hampshire 320 to win after a mixed second-innings batting effort at Headingley on Day Two of this finely poised Specsavers County Championship match.

    Gary Ballance’s side are the most likely winners, but they will no doubt be hugely frustrated at failing to put Hampshire to bed having claimed a lead of 132 in the first innings shortly after lunch.

    After posting 273 on the opening day and then reducing the visitors to 58 for five, Yorkshire bowled them out for 141, with the superb Ben Coad finishing with six wickets and Tim Bresnan four.

    Yorkshire then fell to 187 all out in their second innings either side of tea as Kyle Abbott picked a brilliant seven for 41 from 14 overs after switching ends from the Football Stand to the Kirkstall Lane End early in the innings.

    Gary Ballance and wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd at least scored important half-centuries for the hosts before Hampshire faced four overs before close, reaching 10 without loss.

    Whichever side loses this match will look back on their failings with the bat. But credit should go first to Yorkshire’s 23-year-old Coad, who added his sixth wicket of the innings before lunch, and also the evergreen Bresnan.

    They finished with six for 37 from 17 overs and four for 53 from 13.5 respectively, with Coad hardly bowling a bad ball. When he picked up the first wicket of the day, Abbott caught at third slip off inside edge and pad, he was on for all 10 wickets and Hampshire were 71 for six in the 24th over of the innings.

    But Bresnan ended such thoughts when he struck twice in the 29th over, Liam Dawson lbw and Gareth Berg caught at second slip. That left Hampshire at 75-8. Ninth-wicket pair Lewis McManus, with 41, and Brad Wheal then shared 57 during the second half of the morning and into the afternoon to ensure Hampshire passed the follow-on target of 124.

    But Bresnan bowled Wheal three balls after lunch and Fidel Edwards shortly afterwards to wrap up the innings. Still, Hampshire, and Abbott in particular, were not about to give this game up. The South African picked up his first three wickets in 17 balls, leaving the score at 59 for three.

    He had Adam Lyth caught behind with a beauty that nipped off the pitch and Peter Handscomb caught at slip in the eleventh over before trapping Alex Lees lbw in the 15th. But Ballance and Jack Leaning set about steadying the ship.

    By the time they brought up a 50 partnership in the early stages of the evening, Yorkshire were 109 for three and 241 in front. Enter Abbott for another wicket-taking burst. He trapped Leaning lbw for 15 in the 35th over to end a 56-run partnership with Ballance.

    And when Bresnan miscued a pull to mid-wicket in the 37th to bag a pair, Yorkshire were 115 for five, leading by 247. Hodd hit six fours in his first 24 runs before hammering Dawson’s left-arm spin straight down the ground for six on the way to 54 not out off 53 balls.

    But he saw Ballance depart, caught behind off Brad Wheal with 156 on the board in the 45th over, followed quickly by Azeem Rafiq, the victim of a superb one-handed slip catch by Sean Ervine at slip off Dawson in the 48th.

    Abbott then trapped Steve Patterson lbw and bowled Josh Shaw with successive deliveries in the 55th, leaving the score at 186 for nine, before Berg bowled Coad in the next.

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