Northeast finger injury hits England ambitions

Sam Cook appeals Getty Images

Hampshire 41 for 0 v Essex

Hampshire and Essex could only manage an hour's play before rain stunted progress during the first day of their Specsavers County Championship fixture at the Ageas Bowl.

Play was originally delayed by half an hour due to overnight rain, before Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate asked Hampshire to bat without a toss.

Thick grey skies and floodlights overhead hinted at good bowling conditions, but a sand-coloured wicket suggested slightly easier going for the batsmen.

And so it proved as Hampshire openers Jimmy Adams and Joe Weatherley navigated the 15 overs bowled with relative comfort. Both struck four boundaries each, with Weatherley particularly strong through the offside.

Academy graduate Weatherley, who replaced the injured Sam Northeast in the side, scored 22 in the shorted session, with Adams unbeaten on a patient 19 when play was abandoned soon after 2:30pm.

Northeast, a winter recruit from Kent, was forced out of the match having suffered a suspected fractured finger during a training session on Thursday.

Hampshire will wait to receive further scans before releasing any update on Northeast - who scored a classy century against Surrey last week - but the injury puts a dent in his hopes of pressing for an England call-up following his impressive display at The Oval.

Essex were able to call on Alastair Cook for the first time this season, along with namesake Sam, and while the former stood untroubled at first slip, the latter provided a few testing deliveries on his return from a cracked finger.

Meanwhile, Simon Harmer is fed up with the rain, having suffered a wash-out in the opening round of fixtures at Yorkshire.

"We had four days of it in Headingley so for the weather to be back is frustrating but it seems like a decent wicket and hopefully we can make the most of it over the next three days," Harmer said. "We always knew they were going to come out and be very circumspect and we also knew the rain was going to come in at some stage."