Cricket: Abbott on cloud nine as Somerset hopes hit

PUBLISHED: 19:50 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:50 17 September 2019

Hampshire's Kyle Abbott celebrates a wicket

Hampshire's Kyle Abbott celebrates a wicket

PA Archive/PA Images

Kyle Abbott produced the best Specsavers County Championship figures for three years with a spellbinding nine-for and Hampshire teammate James Vince struck his first red-ball century of the season to end Somerset’s hopes of winning the title this week.

Hampshire's South African fast bowler Abbott took 9-40 in three scintillating spells of seam bowling to roll Somerset over for 142.

He had started with two wickets on a gloomy first evening before taking five in the morning and wrapped up the tail after lunch - with Fidel Edwards preventing him from clinching a 10-fer.

That gave Hampshire a first-innings lead of 54, before they collapsed to 10-3 and 45-6, but Vince played a masterful innings to seemingly bat the visitors out the game.

Somerset, who can at best end the penultimate round of fixtures 23 points ahead of Essex, ended the day trailing by 230 runs.

Abbott, who played for Clevedon in the WEPL earlier this summer, had ended the first day with figures of 2-1, having dismissed Murali Vijay and Steve Davies, but while the pitch remained green, dry and very quick, the overheads had altered from grey clouds to unblemished blue.

That would usually suggest batsman-friendly conditions, but with his third ball of the morning Abbott jagged one back to dump Tom Abell's off stump.

Edwards, who provided plenty of testing deliveries of his own, struck Tom Banton on the hand before luring him into edging behind with another short-pitched ball the next delivery.

From then on it was vintage Abbott as James Hildreth pushed behind and George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory were both trapped lbw by in-seamers.

Craig Overton had his stumps demolished and Dom Bess, who had added 76 with Roelof Van Der Merwe, scooped to square leg as Josh Davey swiped outside his off stump.

Abbott's figures were the best at the Ageas Bowl and sixth finest this century and he now also boasts the most wickets for a fast bowler in Division One of the Championship, with 60 scalps: only Simon Harmer and Jeetan Patel have more.

Despite being bowled out for 142, Somerset hit back with the new ball in style as Davey had Ian Holland caught at second slip by Vijay and Tom Alsop lifting to mid-wicket.

Gregory had Felix Organ prodding behind to a ball which held its line before Sam Northeast and Liam Dawson were lbw to Overton.

At 45-6, and with Aneurin Donald back in the dressing room after he was bowled while withdrawing his bat, Hampshire appeared well short of setting Somerset a total.

But Vince dug in as he took 23 balls to get off the mark, before he rode through the gears and made batting look easy.

Lewis McManus and Keith Barker came and went, lbw to Van Der Merwe and Abell respectively, but Vince accelerated - reaching fifty in 78 balls with a pulled four.

Vince was forced to manipulate the strike amongst some defensive Somerset fields but cruised to a 136-ball hundred, which comprised of 14 boundaries.

He ended the day unbeaten on 102, having added 73 for the ninth wicket with Abbott.

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