Hain joins plunder as batsmen dominate to the end

Warwickshire 398 for 6 (Hain 135, Ambrose 104, Trott 68) drew with Hampshire 531 (Wheater 204*, Ervine 75, Poysden 4-85)

A slow, flat pitch and a full day lost to rain were heavy factors against this match producing a positive result, much to the frustration of both sides for differing reasons, Warwickshire needing one to keep up with Middlesex and Lancashire in a breakaway group at the top of Division One, Hampshire to jump ahead of Surrey and Nottinghamshire at the other end.

Yet it was a worthwhile exercise for Warwickshire in particular, who were able to watch the precociously talented Sam Hain emerge from a long run of frustratingly low scores in Championship cricket with his first century in almost a year, which he turned into his second highest score for the county.

Ultimately holing out for 135 as Warwickshire tried - in vain, as it turned out - to claim a fifth batting point, Hain hit 16 fours and one six, the maximum - a pull backward of square off Gareth Berg - being the shot that took him to three figures.

Hain's first full season playing white-ball cricket has brought significant scores in both T20 and the 50-over game but as an illustration of the extent to which runs have eluded him until now in the four-day game, he accumulated more in this one innings than in his previous 11 this season.

Afterwards, he described his struggle to rediscover his form as a new experience but one he had learned from.

"I've never been in this situation before so to come out and get a few runs today is nice," he said. "I couldn't really get my head round what was happening but I talked to some of the older boys to try to get a bit of help because it is quite tough when you are young and I've learned a lot from it.

"When you are in a run of low scores you start to turn up wondering whether you will play or not. I thought I might have missed out this game, so I'm grateful to Ian Bell and Dougie Brown for keeping faith in me.

"I don't think I have been as nervous before in red ball cricket and I still feel it a work in progress. There are a few technical things I need to work on but for me it has been more a mental thing and so I've tried to get back to working on my processes rather than looking at the outcomes."

Given that he has seven Championship hundreds to his name already - including a double - it is easy to lose sight of how young he is. He is not 21 until this Saturday.

Warwickshire believe they have in Hain a future England player with a considerable career ahead him and director of cricket Brown reaffirmed his faith in him while admitting he was not far from being left out.

"We discussed how long you persevere with a young player with such exceptional talent and we were probably getting close to that point," he said.

"But everyone goes through it. (Ian) Bell and (Jonathan) Trott in our dressing room, Alastair Cook, Jacques Kallis - very fine players who have all gone through periods where they are short of form and confidence

"There was no doubt Sam was going to come good at some stage, the question was when and thankfully we have seen him play exceptionally well in this game. Conditions were in his favour and it might be more testing, say, at Headingley in a couple of weeks' time.

"We strongly believe he has a bright future in the game and we wanted to give him that extended run. Now that he has got a really good hundred hopefully he kicks on from there."

The other plus point from Warwickshire's view point was a century from Tim Ambrose, his first of the season after three consecutive fifties, which reinforced Brown's optimism about his side's title challenge.

"Yorkshire got away from everyone last year but no one has this time and we are in a good position," he said. "The side that wins will be the one that produces the strong finish to the season and we have a lot of guys in pretty good touch and as a team we know we are playing well."

Hampshire's wicketkeeper, Lewis McManus, standing up to Gareth Berg, executed a smart stumping to remove Trott and the young legspinner, Mason Crane, made a good impression in conditions that did not particularly help him. He was rewarded when Ambrose and Hain holed out within the space of four balls during Warwickshire's chase for batting points.

Having been 312-4 after 100 overs, Warwickshire added 86 in the final 10 yet Crane kept his discipline well. Rikki Clarke lofted a six off Liam Dawson from the penultimate delivery before handshakes were exchanged after the 110th over was completed.

Warwickshire 2nd innings Partnerships

1st4V ChopraARI Umeed
2nd7IR BellV Chopra
3rd67IJL TrottV Chopra
4th77IJL TrottSR Hain
5th223TR AmbroseSR Hain
6th2R ClarkeSR Hain
7th18R ClarkeKHD Barker