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Hampshire can't make the most of a promising start
8:22pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Sport
NORTHANTS were indebted to Rob Keogh for preventing them being rolled over by a dominant Hampshire on day one of the LV Championship Clash at the Ageas Bowl yesterday.
Keogh, who came into the line-up at the last minute after Graham White was hurt in the warm-up, hit a career-best 158 not out in big stands alongside Andrew Hall and Matt Spriegel as Northamptonshire fought back following a stunning first session from Hampshire.
Left-arm pace bowler James Tomlinson duly struck the first blow by having Stephen Peters caught at first slip and then David Balcombe knocked James Middlebrook’s off stump out of the ground with the score at 10.
Keogh came to the crease at 24 for three when Alex Wakeley was caught at the wicket off Balcombe and that worsened to 32 for four when David Sales was deceived by some extra bounce from on loan Matt Coles.
But Keogh and Hall began the repair process in a major partnership of 120 for the fifth wicket in 34 overs.
Hampshire, who were without Michael Carberry and Danny Briggs, both on international duty, called up triallist Ruel Brathwaite from Durham and it was the Barbadian-born pace bowler who broke the stand.
Hall, who made 48, pulled a short delivery to deep square leg where Michael Roberts held a tumbling catch, running forward.
Steven Crook lifted Brathwaite for six to get off the mark but then chased a wide delivery down the leg side from the same bowler and Michael Bates, restored to the Hampshire wicketkeeping role, held a catch away to his left.
That put Northamptonshire, a team in urgent need of bonus points to close the widening gap on Division Two leaders Lancashire, on 162 for six.
Keogh was then joined by Spriegel and together they took the initiative away from Hampshire in an unbroken stand of 161, with former Surrey bowler Spriegel playing his full part.
Keogh reached his century with a single off Neil McKenzie’s occasional spin and by the close the visitors’ recovery was looking impressive.
They ended the first day at 323 for six from 96 overs with Keogh having faced 280 balls and struck 23 fours. Spriegel, no less punishing once they came together, was 61 not out with six boundaries and Hampshire were regretting not being able to make the most of a promising start.
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