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Ivo Tennant at the Ageas Bowl
April 24, 2013
Hampshire 367 for 6 (Adams 151*, Carberry 62, Vince 52) v Worcestershire
At this level, on this pitch and against this Worcestershire attack, Jimmy Adams will score runs. Just about every time he goes out to bat. The 17th first-class century of his career, and fourth since becoming captain of Hampshire, was made with characteristic application, concentration and an unerring ability to dispatch the loose ball.
There was little discernible difference in Adams' approach to this innings at the start of the day, after he had won the toss, and in the final session, when he was well into three figures. John Woodcock once wrote an appreciation of another accumulative left-hand opener, John Edrich, noting that after falling asleep and waking to find a century had been reached, he had no need to ask how the runs had been scored.
So it is with Adams. He is not as good as Edrich was, but he plays to similar strengths. An innings progresses at a certain pace. It is for the likes of Michael Carberry and James Vince to play the more expansive shots, as indeed they did on Wednesday. Already, Hampshire have a substantial first-innings total.
Carberry added 113 with his captain, making 64 with 11 fours before Moeen Ali had him leg before, the front pad relatively far forward. This was the first of three wickets taken by Moeen, a talented batsman who looks as if he will be given more bowling this season than his record would suggest he might have. George Bailey, who will not be a part of Australia's Ashes party this summer, was caught at slip aiming to drive and Vince rather casually lofted a drive to wide mid-on.
Before that, Liam Dawson was caught at point aiming to turn to leg. Adams reached his century with his 12th four, driven through mid-off. His innings moved by reader on the ESPNcricinfo blog to describe his technique as akin to "a crab attempting to line dance" but this shot belonged to the textbook of nuggety left-handers. Meanwhile, Vince was batting about as well as he did in his century against Leicestershire in the first match of the season, even if the manner of his dismissal was unnecessary. His 52 included six fours.
There was scant help for any of Worcestershire's bowlers, fast or slow. Chris Russell, who once played lamp-post cricket on the Isle of Wight with his schoolboy friend, Hampshire's Danny Briggs, had an extended bowl in the morning, his flowing action more impressive than his direction, although he did pick up two wickets later on. Had David Griffiths been playing for Hampshire, there would have been three representatives from the island, to which the club would like to return. There is talk of county cricket being played on the Isle of Wight, at the New Close ground, for the first time since 1962.
That Russell was not playing for Hampshire owed to his manager having introduced him to clubs in the west Midlands; this was the first time he had played on this ground. Doubtless he will be able to learn from Alan Richardson, who just keeps on bowling. He took a wicket late in the day when Sean Ervine and Adam Wheater, again preferred to Michael Bates, came and went.
Both this total and their first innings against Leicestershire a fortnight ago were higher than anything Hampshire managed at home last year, so it has been a good start to the season. Having been foiled by the weather in their opening fixture - the final day's play was abandoned - they need to make the most of this.
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