Dawson dampens Leicestershire expectations
Leicestershire 159 for 6 (Smith 68, Dawson 3-13) v Hampshire
Left-arm spinner Liam Dawson took three late wickets to enable Hampshire to finish in a much stronger position than they could have expected after Greg Smith's bright half-century for Leicestershire. On a rain-ruined first day, play did not get under way until 2pm and at the close Leicestershire had slumped to 159 for 6 from 62.2 overs despite a promising start to their innings.
Hampshire were led by former Australia international Simon Katich in the absence of Jimmy Adams, who missed the match for personal reasons, and Katich had no hesitation in fielding first in gloomy conditions. But Leicestershire found batting easier than they might have anticipated as bowlers struggled to cope with a wet ball and soaking outfield.
Matthew Boyce and Smith put on 34 for the first wicket, while Jacques Du Toit made just 8 but his dismissal meant Smith was joined by captain Ramnaresh Sarwan in the best stand of the day, worth 81. Smith and Sarwan took the score to 146 for 2 before a late flurry of wickets following Dawson's introduction to the attack saw four fall for 13.
Smith was first to go, bowled by Dawson after an increasingly fluent innings of 68 from 168 balls and including seven fours. That was the signal for the Leicestershire collapse to begin, Dawson striking in his next over when Sarwan's innings of 46 was ended by a slip catch by Sean Ervine.
Kadeer Ali had his off stump knocked back by left-arm pace bowler Chris Wood before Dawson won an appeal for lbw against Nadeem Malik.
Dawson came on as fourth change and only because Hampshire had chosen to leave out No. 1 spinner Danny Briggs, expecting the pitch to help their battery of pace bowlers. Dawson, who bowls only occasionally, ended the day with figures of 3 for 13.