Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hants Comment: Hampshire vs Leicestershire LVCC

When the rain hit the borough of Eastleigh last Friday it seemed as though it may never stop. It did of course, for a bit, but with only ten overs bowled on days three and four of Hampshire's match against Leicestershire at the Ageas Bowl, there was no chance of a result being reached in Hants 3rd game of the season.

Drawing against Leicester might  have been considered a decent result before a ball was bowled last week but, having restricted the visitors to just 234 in their first innings having been 148/3 earlier in proceedings, as well as reaching a promising 217/4 themselves with the bat, the Royals will wonder what could have been from the match.

Liam Dawson, once known around these parts predominantly as a spin bowler, returned career best bowling figures of 5 wickets for 29 Leicestershire runs in the first and only completed innings of the match, proving the exclusion of Danny Briggs from the side was an astute one.

Whether Briggs' exclusion was a sign of things to come this season, in first class cricket at least, we're currently unsure, but with Hants team manager Giles White looking for green, pacey wickets at the Ageas Bowl this season, Briggs may struggle to make an impact. 

It's tough on Briggs, such a prospect after two successful seasons with Hants and a first full England cap received in a one day international against Pakistan  earlier this year. Perhaps later in the season when wickets and conditions are offering spinners more assistance Briggs will begin to thrive but for now, with Dawson providing good support with the ball, Briggs will have to bide his time.

Hants seamers, in-form so far this season, toiled with little reward this time out. David Griffiths replaced Briggs and took 2/56, whilst in-form David Balcombe managed only 1 wicket. Indeed it was only when Dawson came onto bowl that Hants really began to test the Leicestershire batsmen.

Young batsman Sean Terry made his debut at the top of the order replacing skipper Jimmy Adams who was missing because of personal reasons. It was a debut to forget for the son of former Hants skipper Paul as he was out for a forth ball duck, but he will get an opportunity to improve on that on Wednesday as Hants travel to Northants with Adams again missing from action.

And there was good news for Michael Carberry on Thursday as first he was included in the England Lions squad to face West Indies in a tour match starting at Northants on 10th May, before going on to score 84 not out, before the rain arrived. Valuable time in the middle then for Carbs, and signs that Hants impressive looking batting lineup is starting to find its feet with Sean Ervine, fresh from his match-winning 75 against Glamorgan last week also finishing unbeaten on 41.

The rain didn't relent all day on Sunday and the game was officially abandoned around lunchtime. So ultimately the weather won, but in Dawson's bowling and Carberry's batting there were some reasons to be cheerful.

In other news,  Hampshire announced on Tuesday that the stands at the ground will be renamed the Shane Warne Stand and the Colin-Ingleby-Mackenzie Stand after 2 of their finest former captains. Nice touch.

Tom Huelin for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Tom on Twitter @tomhue1

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