Double for Adams but game drifts
Hampshire 515 for 9 (Adams 218, Bates 71, McKenzie 52) lead Northamptonshire 438 by 77 runs
Jimmy Adams often gives the appearance of being able to bat all day - as indeed he did here, as well as for much of the previous evening. There was no discernible difference in tempo towards the end of his innings as there was at the very start, but then he is not alone in that among left-handed openers. John Edrich was no different and Adams, the Hampshire captain, would be content with such a comparison. He had made 71 overnight and finished with the second double-century of this match.
In a season in which he has recorded six ducks in Championship cricket, Adams has now made two double-hundreds. Once he gets going, he specialises in large innings, for, as with Robert Keogh earlier in this match, he lacks nothing in the way of concentration and perseverance. He looked, given his intention of batting for as long as possible, as if he had his eye on the highest score by a Hampshire captain, Dick Moore's 316 against Warwickshire at Dean Park in Bournemouth, a ground, alas, where the club no longer play and which is now up for sale.
Partners came and went but Adams ground remorselessly on, leaning back to force the ball away through the off side and collecting runs all the while off his legs. There was one possible chance to Jon Batty, standing up to James Middlebrook's offspin, but out of practice at this level. Otherwise, it was an object lesson in the art of accumulation. The same bowler was driven for six to reach 200 off 408 balls, and there were 34 fours besides. The pity is that we, and he himself, will never really know how good he is, for the England selectors are not likely to seek him out now.
There were five overs remaining when he was caught at slip off Matthew Spriegel, having reached 218. Maybe Adams should have declared behind Northamptonshire's first-innings total of 438 in order to try to bring about a positive result. He chose to continue batting, having been ably assisted by Neil McKenzie, who reached a half-century before Azharullah nipped one back at him and had him leg-before when he might have been forward.
Sean Ervine and Adam Wheater, playing as a specialist batsman, went cheaply, but Michael Bates, who has not been given nearly sufficient cricket this season - supposedly because his batting is not good enough - made 71 with ten fours and without apparent concern until he slapped a long hop from Azharullah to cover.
Given the support Bates received, the members are evidently on his side. He will not be the last wicketkeeper to lose his place on account of making insufficient runs but the point at issue about his performances is whether Hampshire have allowed him enough time to develop his batting. It is not as if Wheater's runs have made any difference to their standing in the second division. Bates has one year remaining on his contract - and some hard thinking to do this winter.
Northamptonshire, who had recovered so well after losing their first four wickets for just 32 on the opening day, were penalised five runs in the most unusual circumstances. Batty whipped off a glove in running to collect the ball from behind the stumps and threw it back to Andrew Hall, who had picked up the glove and put it on, presumably to protect his fingers from any fierce throw. The umpires, Steve O'Shaughnessy and Martin Saggers, were impressively alert to that. Hampshire will resume 77 runs to the good.