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Hants struggle against Isle of Wight rookie
Hampshire’s chances of beginning a season with victory for the first time in five years were reduced by rain, the loss of a crucial toss and a duck for Michael Carberry.
Not since 2009, when Worcestershire were comfortably beaten at The Ageas Bowl, have Hampshire started a season with a win.
They will do well to achieve a repeat result after being reduced to 37-3 during the 53 balls that were possible on the opening day of their LV County Championship campaign. Following persistent rain, the toss was as important as an appointment at Buckingham Palace. Worcestershire made the most of the advantage when play finally began at 2.45pm.
Chris Russell, a 25 year-old from the Isle of Wight who learnt the game playing street cricket with Danny Briggs in the village of Wroxall, relished the damp, overcast conditions in taking 2-17 from 4.5 overs.
A medium-fast bowler, he made light of the fact that he was up against Michael Carberry, whose last first-class match was in a vastly different environment – the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.
Carberry is a notoriously slow starter in the Championship. After scoring 30 on his Hampshire debut in 2006, his first innings of the next eight seasons have now yielded scores of 7, 2, 4, 3, 2, 3, 0 and 0.
Having been dismissed for three-single figure scores in Hampshire’s pre-season games against Sussex and Middlesex, he only lasted an over against Russell, without getting bat on ball.
This time he shouldered arms at several deliveries angled across him before being pinned in front by the last ball of the opening over, a wicket maiden.
At least Hampshire did not get off to as bad an immediate start as last season, when Carberry’s 13-ball duck left the home county 0-2.
Hampshire recovered to make 454-7 declared against Leicestershire on that occasion, but 300 would be a good first-innings total this time, given the conditions and the subsequent losses of Liam Dawson (2) and James Vince (0).
Dawson was bowled spectacularly by a full-length delivery from Charlie Morris, another rookie opening bowler.
And Vince, attempting to get off the mark by driving his second ball, nicked Russell to Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell at third slip at the end of the next over.
Despite losing his new vice-captain, at least Adams showed it was possible to bat well in the difficult conditions.
His unbeaten 32 accounted for 86 per cent of Hampshire’s opening-day runs and they came at a fair lick – from only 33 balls.
Much will now rest on the captain and the new boys. Will Smith managed to get his first Hampshire run before more rain ensured an early close, while former Brighton striker Joe Gatting has been handed his Ageas Bowl debut – eight years after making his Football League debut at St Mary’s.
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