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Alex Winter in Bristol
May 9, 2013
Hampshire 264 for 9 (Adams 129*, Briggs 54) v Gloucestershire
They say top level sport is won and lost in the head and Hampshire left it to their captain and No. 10 to do all the clear thinking to dig them out of a huge hole at Bristol.
Having not looked likely to make three figures at lunch on day one, a record partnership for the ninth wicket between Jimmy Adams and Danny Briggs turned disaster into a solid total and two batting bonus points.
The pair showed application that deserted the eight other batsmen on the opening day, who recorded 49 runs between them. It was a further failure after two poor showings in defeat at Essex last week, which was a surprise after Hampshire racked up 954 in two innings at the Ageas Bowl in their first two matches.
Introspection is required. They have been guilty of not adjusting from their home wicket but Adams denied there was any hangover from Chelmsford.
"The guys have played a fair bit of cricket away from the Ageas Bowl in recent weeks so they should be used to playing away from home by now," Adams said. "Perhaps losing the toss wouldn't have been a bad thing here and at Chelmsford but we thought both wickets were good enough to have a bat first on. I thought the positive option was to have a bat.
"After the first five overs I was thinking everything was fine. But we had a flurry of wickets and sometimes that's what you get. We gave away too many cheap wickets. It was hard work and I was just trying to get through those passages of play."
Adams, astute at the crease on the first day, found the going a little easier on the second morning and went through to his second Championship century of the season in 221 balls. He now has over 500 first-class runs this season at an average of 131.25. His knock here included 12 fours, nearly all of them square on both sides of the wicket.
Adams' success was down to his mental fortitude: gritting it out when the ball was new and swinging and claiming the wickets of most of his fellow batsman; working his way up to a half-century to get something on the board for Hampshire; and then marshalling Briggs and James Tomlinson very effectively in so far adding 167 for the last two wickets.
The second morning saw 99 runs added in 33 overs. It was straightforward progress against a softer ball that moved nowhere. Gloucestershire were also a bowler light. Will Gidman, having left the field on day one with a jarred ankle, was ruled out of bowling in the remainder of the game. His injury is yet to be diagnosed and it was a major blow for Gloucestershire who are quickly running out of fit bowlers. A week off from Championship cricket next week has come at the perfect time. John Bracewell will use the break to attend his daughter's graduation back in New Zealand.
Only Benny Howell looked like taking a wicket on day two. He had Adams' dropped on 76 by wicketkeeper Cameron Herring who was stood up to the stumps and spilled a healthy edge. It took Briggs to pull Alex Gidman's first ball of the innings to midwicket for the ninth wicket to fall.
It was a poor end for Briggs who had played so circumspectly in settling in with Adams for 22 overs before the first day's rain. He went through to a maiden Championship half-century in 109 balls by driving Jack Taylor through extra cover. It was some bonus for Hampshire. Briggs' previous highest score in the Championship was 36, made in 2009.
He and Adams added 128 in 37.1 overs - a ninth-wicket record for Hampshire against Gloucestershire. And the hosts' frustration continued as James Tomlinson extended the innings with a 47-ball resistance - the first 43 of those without scoring. It allowed Adams to bring up a second bonus point.
Adams would have been very nervous as the second new ball was taken with him on 98 and Tomlinson taking strike. But Tomlinson survived six Craig Miles deliveries and allowed Adams to bring up a tremendous century in the next over by pulling David Payne through square leg.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper