Hants fall short after Bailey declaration

Hampshire 211 for 9 dec (Dawson 53, Gregory 3-51) and 96 for 5 dec drew with Somerset 147 (Holland 4-16, Berg 4-28) and 88 for 8 (Davies 47, Berg 3-17)

Lewis Gregory’s innings helped stave off defeat © Getty Images

The Somerset tail saved their side from defeat in a last-session thriller at the Ageas Bowl as Hampshire ran out of time two wickets shy of victory in their Specsavers County Championship match.

The Division One strugglers had collapsed to 79 for 6, despite Steven Davies’ scoring 47 of those runs in a valiant attempt at a chase, but were bailed out by Tim Groenewald, Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton as they held on over the course of the final hour.

Hampshire had declared on 95 for 5 during a rain break to set up the thrilling, topsy-turvy finale, as they set Somerset 131 to win in 31 overs. And captain George Bailey’s decision appeared to be impeccably judged as Gareth Berg took two wickets in an over.

The fast bowler was helped by a stunning diving catch by James Vince in the covers to get rid of Marcus Trescothick. Three balls later, he kissed the edge of Adam Hose’s bat to offer a caught behind for Lewis McManus.

The new pink ball appeared difficult to play as it swung and seamed, with play-and-misses a regular sight. James Hildreth was the next to depart as Kyle Abbott finally got his first wicket of the match with a well-directed full delivery.

Steven Davies had been elevated up the order to open in the hope of quick runs and he provided with 47 from 40 balls. But wickets continued to fall around him as Eddie Byrom stuck around for a 28-ball 15 before Ian Holland bowled him for his fifth wicket of the match.

Tom Abell followed in the next over as he attempted to play a reverse sweep, but only looped up a catch to Rilee Rossouw at first slip. Davies then played one shot too many to drive Holland on the up to Bailey in the covers.

Groenewald and Gregory blocked out 7.5 overs before the latter was lbw to Berg leaving an in-ducker. Then Groenewald edged Abbott behind with seven balls to go but Overton and Josh Davey survived with the nerves jangling.

The draw leaves Hampshire level on points with Yorkshire, but above them in third due to their win at Headingley earlier in the season, while Somerset remain second from bottom and in deep relegation trouble.

Earlier, the afternoon session had progressed the game nicely with the remaining Somerset wickets of Davey and Jack Leach falling in 37 balls.

Hampshire, who boasted a 64-run first innings lead, then proceeded to lose two quick wickets of their own, openers Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson falling before the tea interval – the former run out from point, with the England international clean bowled by Groenewald.

Vince and Rossouw put on 33 in quick time, with the pair finding the boundary more comfortably than anyone else in the match. But Gregory had the South African edging to first slip Hildreth, who spectacularly caught low to his right. Then Vince, caught behind cutting, and Bailey, foolishly run out in a mix up with Sean Ervine, fell in consecutive balls.

As the rain fell, Hampshire elected to declare for the second time in the match but they could not force a positive result with the game eventually ending at 9.35pm.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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