Opener’s 82 guides Hampshire but visitors hit back between showers
Hampshire 223 for 7 (Holland 82) vs Leicestershire
Ed Barnes grabbed three wickets as Leicestershire kept Hampshire’s powerful batting line-up in check on a day punctuated by rain delays at the Ageas Bowl.
After only 26.2 overs were possible on the opening day, 56 were lost on day two following a three-and-a-half hour break after lunch – the second of two rain delays – as the hosts closed on 223 for 7. In bitterly cold and windy conditions – more akin to midwinter than mid-May – it was to the credit of the Leicestershire seam attack that they managed to pick up six wickets over the course of the day.
Alex Evans, who had Ian Holland dropped by Rishi Patel for 12 on Wednesday, looked to have made an early breakthrough when he bowled Tom Alsop off an inside edge only for umpire Martin Saggers to rule it a no-ball. But the 20-year-old redeemed himself in his very next over when he squared Alsop up with a full-length delivery and skipper Colin Ackermann took the catch at slip to dismiss the left-hander for 25.
Sam Northeast, then fell for 2 to a superb ball from Chris Wright who found a way through the former Kent captain’s defence and clipped the top of his off stump.
Holland, who has been in fine form this season, passed 50 for fifth time in 11 innings and looked well on course for his third century of the campaign when he stroked three boundaries from a Gavin Griffiths over before lunch. But the opener’s stylish knock came to an end on 82 when he played all around a straight ball from Barnes and was trapped on the pad just before rain took the players off for the first time.
Play resumed over an hour later and Barnes should have grabbed the key wicket of James Vince, who scored 231 when the sides last met in April, but Patel put down yet another catch at gully when the Hampshire skipper was on 19. But his blushes were spared when Barnes deceived Vince with a slower ball that thumped the England batsman’s front pad and umpire Nigel Llong raised the finger to send him on his way for 32.
With pitchside advertising hoardings being blown to the ground and Leicestershire wicketkeeper Harry Swindells finding himself scampering across the outfield to retrieve his helmet as it tumbled towards the boundary rope there seemed little hope of play resuming when rain started to fall.
However, thanks to the hard work of the Hampshire ground staff, play got underway again at 6pm with the hosts losing Liam Dawson for 19 and then Lewis McManus for 15 with Barnes and Evans taking the wickets.