Solanki century helps puts Worcestershire in control

LV County Championship Division One, New Road
Close, day two: Worcestershire 403-8 dec, Hampshire 232-7
Worcs 7pts, Hants 3pts
Match scorecard
Live commentary
Vikram Solanki
Solanki's knock was his best since hitting 206 at Headingley in April 2009

Vikram Solanki's highest score in over two years put Worcestershire in charge at New Road as Hampshire battled to avoid the risk of following on.

Solanki, 99 not out overnight, finished on 173 as the home side declared with maximum batting points on 403-8.

Hampshire then made 232-7, a clatter of late wickets leaving them still needing another 22 to avoid the follow-on.

Alan Richardson took 3-52, backed by two late wickets for Hakib Al Hasan, including key scalp Nic Pothas for 60.

Former skipper Solanki's first Championship century for 14 months, the 28th of his career, fashioned over six hours, earned maximum batting points for Worcestershire for the first time this season.

It was his best performance since relinquishing the captaincy last August to offer his side hope of back-to-back wins for the first time in Worcestershire's four separate seasons in Division One.

The day's other highlight was Richardson's 400th first-class wicket in a 16-year career with four counties, when he had Liam Dawson caught behind with the last ball of the first over of the Hampshire innings.

Michael Lumb, on his first Championship outing of the season, then went leg-before to Gareth Andrew's third delivery.

But, with Australian Damien Wright having come to the end of his stint in the overseas slot, Worcestershire's back-up bowlers were unable to sustain the initial breakthrough.

Held up for 17 overs by Jimmy Adams (52) and Neil McKenzie (37), they had to wait for Richardson's reappearance before regaining momentum.

James Vince also made 50 before he was bowled by Jack Shantry after putting on 95 in 16 overs with Pothas (60).

But the follow-on target of 254 had still not been cleared when Shakib Al Hasan claimed two late wickets in six balls.

Shakib also contributed 54 out of a fifth-wicket stand of 109 with Solanki in an unexpected Championship appearance as stand-in for Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, who is due to arrive in the country on Monday after delays over his visa.