Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (day one):
Somerset 408: Hildreth 105, Abell 82, Banton 79; Abbott 6-84
Hampshire 15-1: J Overton 1-8
Hampshire (3 pts) trail Somerset (5 pts) by 393 runs

James Hildreth made his first County Championship century of the season before Division One leaders Somerset were pegged back by Hampshire.

Hildreth (105), Tom Abell (82), Tom Banton (79) and George Bartlett (68) plundered the runs from the top order.

But Hampshire claimed the last five wickets for just 33 runs with the second new ball as Kyle Abbott (6-84) kept them to a relatively-modest 408.

Hampshire lost opener Ollie Soames for a duck before reaching 15-1 at stumps.

Both sides came into the game on the back of heavy defeats by second-placed Essex in recent weeks.

But Somerset, who started the round with a 13-point lead, put together two impressive sessions batting first as Hampshire’s bowlers looked set for a tough time.

In a difficult day in the field, they lost wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Alsop to a hamstring injury as first Aneurin Donald and then Le McManus deputised with the gloves.

Leg-spinner Mason Crane’s 12 overs cost 88 runs without a wicket as Hildreth reached his century with a six off the .

But seamer Abbott had other ideas and, from the strength of 353-3, Somerset failed to capitalise with the South African taking two wickets in two balls at one stage.

Jamie Overton did pick up the scalp of Soames in his first over of Hampshire’s reply before Joe Weatherley and saw out the close.

Somerset centurion James Hildreth:

“The jury is still out on the pitch. At times when I was batting it seemed pretty flat, but our later batsmen may not agree. The ball was certainly swinging at times and at the end there it nipped about a bit for our bowlers.

“It’s always nice to score a century. That is what I play the game for. Our top order know we haven’t got enough runs this season. It goes with the territory that, when that happens, you get criticised.

“That’s part of the game. With our bowling attack, I feel confident we have enough runs to push on and win this game.”

Hampshire seamer Kyle Abbott:

“I ended up with six wickets, but it feels more like a consolation than anything to shout about. We didn’t bowl well for much of the day.

“It’s a difficult ground for bowlers once the batsmen get momentum, but there is no excuse for going at five an over. They scored too quickly in the afternoon.

“When the ball went soft, it was tough. But it’s not a bad pitch to bat on. Hopefully we can get past the follow-on figure and take it from there.”


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