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Division 1, Birmingham, September 05 - 08, 2021, County Championship
89 & 322
(T:296) 116 & 235

Hampshire won by 60 runs


Mohammad Abbas hobbles for the cause as Hampshire take Championship stride

Warks resistance ends quickly after Rob Yates falls on final morning

David Hopps
David Hopps
Brad Wheal and Nick Gubbins celebrate the moment of victory  •  Getty Images

Brad Wheal and Nick Gubbins celebrate the moment of victory  •  Getty Images

Hampshire 89 (Rhodes 5-23) and 322 (Barker 75, Norwell 4-72) beat Warwickshire 116 (Abbas 5-29, Norwell 5-43) and 235 (Yates 77, Dawson 3-42) by 60 runs
Three days after being dismissed for 89, Hampshire pulled off a notable victory when they overcame Warwickshire's steadfast batting resistance by 60 runs on another stifling day at Edgbaston. Warwickshire extended their safety-first attempts to chase 296 into a second day, but they never found the match-winning innings they needed and when the end came, it came quickly.
There is minimal leeway in this four-match climax to the Championship. Hampshire briefly moved level with Yorkshire at the top of the table - aware that both would lose that place once the result of Nottinghamshire's clash with Lancashire was known. As for Warwickshire, they remain in touch in a Division where only Somerset appear to be virtually out of contention.
Mark Robinson, Warwickshire's coach, said: ''We have won those games before. Four of our games have gone to Day 4 and we've come out the right side of them, and today we haven't. That happens. All I can ask is that we put ourselves in positions that we can win games, and we did do that."
Warwickshire felt slight favourites at breakfast with the expectation that Mohammad Abbas would not bowl because of an ankle injury. But Abbas was patched up and sent into the fray and, although down on pace and prone to considerable limping, summoned the wholehearted bowling effort that has been a feature of his seasons on the county circuit.
Warwickshire had logged 139 for 2 overnight, at roughly two an over, and that pedestrian rate of scoring continued. The pitch, although slightly livelier than the previous day, still inhibited a more enterprising approach - and what the pitch did not discourage, the situation did. It would have been a courageous batter who dared to abandon Warwickshire's grind-it-out policy after it had kept them in touch with victory for so long.
The second new ball was 13 overs away when Warwickshire resumed, but by the time James Vince took it, two overs late, they had lost Rob Yates in adding another 28. Yates, 70 not out overnight, managed another seven before James Fuller brought one back sharply from around the wicket. Fuller found life where previously none was thought to exist and another ball evaded both Will Rhodes and the stand-in keeper, Tom Also, to scoot for four byes.
As Vince briefly delayed the new ball to give Fuller another over, the left-arm spinner, Liam Dawson also twice came close to having Rhodes caught at short leg off successive deliveries. But Dawson was to play a surprisingly minor role as Abbas' big-hearted effort began to take effect. He limped back to his mark, ran tenderly to the crease and, as the ball came down at not much more than 70mph, hopped a little in his follow-through.
But Abbas' skill has always been self-evident. His two new-ball wickets edged the match in Hampshire's favour. Sam Hain, who had laboured over 70 balls for 18, edged one that held its line and Rhodes became a second catch at the wicket, a fine ball this which left him from around the wicket. Abbas celebrated gingerly, as if he feared an over-exuberant team-mate might stand on his foot.
At lunch, Warwickshire still needed 101 with five wickets left and the addition of 17 in five overs invited the suspicion that they might up the tempo a tad. Hampshire returned to the left-arm medium of Keith Barker, Alsop immediately up to the stumps, and was rewarded when Burgess nicked a wide one and he held on capably.
That turned out to be the end of Warwickshire's challenge as the last five wickets tumbled in eight overs. Fuller nipped in again to have Danny Briggs leg before, Craig Miles patted a short ball from Dawson to first slip and left disconsolately, and Liam Norwell was run out by a hair's breadth the first time that Lamb tried to keep the strike. Norwell dived into the crease to try to beat Dawson's underarm throw and a video freeze frame suggested it was a brilliant decision by the umpire, James Middlebrook.
Chemar Holder was brought in from Barbados on a short-term deal to take wickets, not to play his part in a miraculous 63-run stand for the last wicket. He made nought, a big drive at Wheal giving the wicketkeeper, Alsop, his fifth catch and Hampshire a victory that will take them to Taunton on Sunday in good heart.
In all formats, they are proving to be a resilient bunch. James Vince, their captain, said: ''We didn't know coming into today if Abbas could bowl, so it was great for him to come out and pick up those wickets for us. It was a massive effort from everyone, running in when we weren't getting wickets and the scoreboard wasn't going anywhere."

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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