Vince matches sparkle with grit
Hampshire 330 for 8 (Carberry 66, Dawson 64, Vince 61) lead Glamorgan 224 (Wallace 67*, Ervine 3-36, Coles 3-39, Abbott 3-66) by 106 runs
James Vince has attracted attention for his natural stroke-making ability but he kept his instincts in check with a circumspect innings to steer Hampshire into a three-figure lead over Glamorgan. But Vince was the third player to go no further than the 60s as the visitors kept the game from racing away by fighting back with the second new ball.
Vince is a joy to watch, with his languid, fluid style producing effortless drives and flicks but there was little opportunity for such strokes on a day of showers that interrupted play regularly until after tea. It was during the final session that Glamorgan gained their rewards for not allowing Hampshire to find the progress of the first evening, taking 5 for 53 after a new ball was requested at the earliest opportunity.
Vince passed 500 County Championship runs for the season during his 61 - only Daryl Mitchell, with 532, has more in the country and he has faced almost double the number of balls - but this innings came at a strike rate 20 lower than his overall mark so far this season. It was difficult for the batsmen to settle, with four rain breaks before tea, and the new side to Vince's game was required to continue Hampshire's progress.
Vince has worked hard to tighten his technique with Hampshire first-team coach, Tony Middleton - who has overseen the majority of Vince's career - after recognising the need to become more consistent in four-day cricket. He has moved across his stumps slightly and resisted temptations outside off stump - in general selling his wicket dearer. His work was rewarded with over 1000 Championship runs last summer and selection on the England Lions tour to Sri Lanka.
The new season has seen his best form to date in four-day cricket, with a match-winning 144 against Gloucestershire at Bristol and 159 at the Ageas against Surrey. Runs at the right time, with England places available.
Here he demonstrated the vital characteristics for international cricket, temperament and discipline, while still finding time to please the eye; a straight-driven four of Graham Wagg just before lunch the pick of his eight boundaries. He also demonstrated smart batting against left-arm spinner Dean Cosker. Vince took him over mid-on, prompting the fielder to go back and Cosker to shift his line a touch wider, allowing Vince more space for his flowing blade, which sent a second boundary wide of mid-off.
But the first delivery of the second new ball saw Vince caught on the crease and lbw to Wagg for 61. It prompted a Hampshire slide, with Wagg also getting Joe Gatting to naively drive outside off stump and edge to Mark Wallace.
Vince and Liam Dawson had taken Hampshire to 196 for 2 and a position to build a match-winning first-innings lead - batting once would be preferable with the potential for more time to be lost. But a game Glamorgan attack, notably shorn of Michael Hogan who is in Australia with his wife and new-born child, persisted well and forced Dawson into an error, slashing off the back foot to a ball not short enough for the stroke and edging behind. It was a first Glamorgan wicket for Tom Helm, a loanee from Middlesex who only turned 20 five days ago and was asked to open the bowling.
Dawson went for 64 and followed Michael Carberry with a weak dismissal. Carberry's fluency of the first evening, where he helped Hampshire tick along at three-and-a-half an over, was completely absent on the second morning and he added just four runs to his overnight total. Jim Allenby is a dangerous bowler to drive off anything but a very full length; Carberry leaned out to play through the covers and sliced a catch to backward point.
Allenby later had Matt Coles dismissed fourth ball in exactly the same fashion and, in between, forced Sean Ervine to play on for another middling score that demonstrated how Hampshire had coughed up the chance to take a stranglehold on the match.
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