Barker puts Hampshire on top on day two


Keith Barker claimed five wickets on the second day of this LV=Insurance County Championship against Somerset to put Hampshire on top  at the Ageas Bowl.

Left arm seamer Barker had only taken 14 wickets in his opening eight red ball appearances of 2023, but his five for 32 saw Somerset dismissed for 137.

Andy Umeed scored 43, to follow up Jack Brooks’ first five-wicket haul of the season, but the visitors’ hopes of victory took a hefty blow.

Despite a 171-run lead, Hampshire batted again and reached 45 without loss in 23 watchful evening overs to extend their lead to 216.

After Sean Dickson had been brilliantly caught at third slip by James Vince off Barker in the third over, Tom Lammonby and Tom Abell bedded in for over an hour either side of lunch.

The pair put on 51, but when Abell fell lbw to Barker it sparked a collapse from 51 for one to 67 for five, from which Somerset wouldn’t fully recover.

Barker found Lammonby’s outside edge before pinning Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Division One’s leading run scorer heading into the round, James Rew prodded to short leg off Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory played on to Mohammad Abbas, Ben Green edged Abbott behind and Neil Wagner was bowled.

Andy Umeed, fresh from 613 One-Day Cup runs, had been in survival mode but once the eighth wicket fell he started to unleash. He reached 43 before he missed a big swing and was stumped to give Dawson three for 61.

Barker had the final word by having Shoaib Bashir lbw as Somerset gave up a 171-run first-innings deficit but James Vince elected against enforcing the follow-on.

Toby Albert and Fletcha Middleton bedded in, heeding century-maker Dawson’s advice to bat long to score runs. It made for a lifeless final 23 overs of the day – during which Wagner attempted a short-pitch onslaught on a pitch not suited to such a tactic. Hampshire closing on 45 without loss.

Earlier, Brooks bolstered his impressive Ageas Bowl record to 21 wickets at an average of 16.85 in four matches with two morning wickets – as Hampshire added 26 to their overnight score to be bowled out for 308.

Keith Barker was caught off his inside edge before Liam Dawson was pinned by Brooks to end his 115-run stay. Kyle Abbott swatted back-to-back boundaries to gather a second batting bonus point but chipped to cover.

Brooks returned five for 56, his third five-wicket haul on the ground.

At the close of play, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “I think we started the day brilliantly. Jack Brooks was outstanding to bowl Hampshire out for 300 and we were in a great position at 50 for one. But to lose six wickets the way did after lunch wasn’t great.

“Hampshire bowled really well on a surface that if you put it in the right areas it was difficult to score. They asked a lot of questions and we weren’t able to answer them so we find ourselves behind in the game.

“We are absolutely trying to win the last three games of the season and finish as high as possible but I’m also looking towards 2024 and how to improve what we are delivering with the bat. If we do that we will become a very competitive side but at the minute we’re not quite doing that.

“It is a different type of cricket. It is incredibly attritional and you need to adapt to play on that surface. You aren’t going to score freely, even if you don’t bowl well, as there is no pace in the wicket. You have to wear the bowlers down.

“We saw on the first evening that Hampshire were able to accelerate towards the end of the day after warm temperatures and us being in the field for a day. We’ll have to try and do the same to Hampshire but with no pace in the wicket I don’t see the game accelerating very quickly.”