HAMPSHIRE now have full use of the Ageas Bowl after two months away - and Adi Birrell is delighted.

The county had been temporarily homeless since mid-May, when the ICC took control of the ‘Hampshire Bowl’ for the Cricket World Cup.

It hosted India’s six-wicket win against South Africa and England’s Joe Root-inspired eight-wicket win against the West Indies either side of the Windies’ abandoned match against the Proteas 11 days ago.

Then it staged Afghanistan’s outstanding performance against India on Saturday, an 11-run defeat after they came so close to pulling off arguably the World Cup's greatest upset.

The Hampshire Bowl's World Cup concluded with the Afghans' defeat against Shakib Al Hasan-inspired Bangladesh.

Hampshire are now using their facilities regularly again as they prepare to return to action against title rivals Somerset at Taunton on Sunday, following their thrashing against Essex in the Specsavers County Championship.

Birrell reckons having the Ageas Bowl back will allow for a better preparation ahead of the season-defining clash against the county that beat them in last month’s One-Day Cup final at Lord’s.

“It has been a little bit awkward that you can’t train at your home venue, although no excuse there for the performance against Essex,” Birrell said.

“The problem is you can’t practise when you want.

“It is fantastic to have a World Cup on your doorstep and all the players are following all the scores but the ground then isn’t yours and it can become hard to train.

“We have a week off before the game against Somerset and will prepare ourselves well. We get our stadium back again on Monday so from then on we will be hard on it.”

Hampshire will play their first match at the Ageas Bowl for eight weeks when Warwickshire visit for a four-day match on July 6.

But before then they will be looking to put behind them a wretched performance at Essex, where they were bowled out for 88 by off-spinner Simon Harmer, who finished with match figures of 12-61.

Birrell, a former leg-spinner himself, admits facing top quality spin bowlers is a weakness with the current batting line-up.

“We need to get more experience against good quality spinners,” Birrell said. “We weren’t very good against Harmer.

“We will have to learn from facing him and use the lessons going forward.”