Thursday, 9 September 2010

Better, better

Well we got more play than expected today, and it was great to see us actually capitalise on the amount of play available. There has been some slight criticism aimed at Tommo lately. Not because he has been bowling crap, far from it he has been hitting his length perfectly. The thing is he hasn't been making the batsmen play often enough. The economy rate has been excellent but the wickets column has been lacking. However this match he appeared to be himself again. Swing has always been his greatest ally, and though conditions weren't a swing bowler's dream, he got the ball to talk enough to consistently force the batsmen to play, and his post tea spell was phenomenal. Stevens and Blake were goners in the space of two balls, whilst Bandara and Coles also succumbed. Added to that was Cork's removal of the key wicket, MVJ the over following the double strike, and his rabbit Blob Key.

It was really good to see Briggs pick up a wicket, he will be ever so important come the fourth innings, as the pitch is taking spin and has done throughout the match. Frustratingly Wood isn't 100% match fit, managing just 5 overs but the others stepped up nicely, Slug taking on the first change mantle with glee, removing Denly and Tredwell to give himself respectable figures. By the end of the innings, Tommo had 4, Cork had 3, Slug 2 and Briggs 1. It was pleasing how Cork kept to his bowling plans rather than turning to various part timers when things weren't quite going as expected. The Denly/MVJ partnership was a good'un but trust was placed in the frontliners and their returns were handsome.

When Coles edged Tommo behind to Bates, Hampshire secured the third bowling point and in doing so sentenced Essex to Div 2 cricket in 2011. Hampshire go into the third day with all 10 second innings wickets still intact after Jimmy and Carbs negotiated the last 12 overs with conservatism but most importantly without error, giving us a 38 run lead. It doesn't need me to explain how important this third day is to Hampshire and their season, as for all of the goodness that has come out of this second day, the match is still very much in the balance. The first task for Hampshire will be to bat out the day, no mean feat on this wicket. We must also bat aggressively. If we find ourselves in a position where we can force a result, then we need to have enough runs behind us so as to remove any chance of a successful Kent run chase. This however must also be juggled with having enough time to hopefully take all ten of their wickets on the last day. Quite a headache for Cork I can imagine, and quite a big day in store for the Hampshire players not least numbers 3, 4 and 5, who will be vital for building the lead we so dearly crave.

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