County Championship: Somerset beat Hampshire to stay top of Division One

Somerset celebrate a wicket
Somerset have won six of their eight County Championship matches so far this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (day four):
Somerset 408: Hildreth 105; Abbott 6-84 & 358-8 dec: Azhar Ali 79, Banton 70
Hampshire 349: Northeast 101; J Overton 5-70 & 104: Leach 3-14
Somerset (24 pts) beat Hampshire (6 pts) by 313 runs

Somerset maintained their position at the top of Division One with a 313-run victory over Hampshire at Taunton.

The visitors were all out before lunch for 104 chasing 418 to win.

Resuming on 12-1, Hampshire slipped to 28-4 as Lewis Gregory (2-20) and Jamie Overton (2-24) struck early on.

Jack Leach (3-14) took the key wicket of first-innings centurion Sam Northeast (23) and fellow spinner Dom Bess chipped in with 2-12 to wrap up the innings in 34.2 overs.

Hampshire, who started third, are now 45 points behind Somerset in the table with six matches left to play.

Essex - who completed an innings victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge - remain the closest challengers to Somerset, who are hoping to win their first County Championship title.

Division One table as it stands

Somerset sought early breakthroughs and got three of them in the first six overs of the day.

India batsman Ajinkya Rahane's attempted drive to a Gregory outswinger ended up in the hands of Overton at second slip, before Overton accounted for nightwatchman Kyle Abbott and fellow South African Rilee Rossouw.

Northeast and James Fuller held things up with a fifth-wicket stand of 57, but a Hampshire team with two top-order batsmen struggling with injuries could not halt Somerset's victory charge.

Tom Alsop (hamstring) came out at number 10 but Joe Weatherley (foot ligament) was unable to bat, meaning Mason Crane's dismissal signalled the end of the match.

Somerset captain Tom Abell:

"I didn't think I would be sitting here at lunchtime talking about victory because I expected a really tough day, but once again our bowlers have performed fantastically well, as they have been doing all season.

"It was still a pretty good wicket to bat on, but Jamie Overton and Lewis Gregory got the ball swinging at the start of the morning and really set the tone before our spin twins came to the party too.

"Of course, we can't avoid thinking about that first ever title because so much is written and spoken about it, but it's for the supporters and media to get excited.

"We will continue to look no further ahead than the next game, which is now against Notts next week."

Hampshire first-team manager Adrian Birrell:

"While the damage to Joe Weatherley's ligaments in his foot and Tom Alsop's hamstring pull didn't help, to be bowled out in less than 40 overs is hurtful.

"We would have liked to bat first because going in last on that pitch was always going to be tricky against two good spinners and some good seamers too.

"We didn't apply ourselves as we might have and it is not resting well with us in the dressing room. It was disappointing to capitulate in the way we did.

"Somerset batted fast in their first innings and their run rate of 4.6 per over suggested we didn't bowl well."

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