County Championship: Hampshire's Vince & Abbott star as Somerset face tough chase

Kyle Abbott
Kyle Abbott took 9-40 in 18.4 overs, nine of those maidens
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl (day two):
Hampshire 196: Dawson 103, Gregory 3-63 & 176-8: Vince 102*
Somerset 142: Bess 37, Abbott 9-40
Hampshire (3 pts) lead Somerset (3 pts) by 230 runs with two wickets remaining

Kyle Abbott took a career-best 9-40 before James Vince's unbeaten 102 ensured title hopefuls Somerset will face a tricky chase to beat Hampshire.

Ex-South Africa paceman Abbott ran through the Somerset order on the second morning to leave them 142 all out, a first-innings deficit of 54.

The visitors then fought back with the ball at the Ageas Bowl, reducing Hampshire to 45-6.

But Vince, supported by Abbott (17), took them to 176-8, a lead of 230.

It was a similar tale to the opening day for Hampshire, who recovered from 24-5 to post 196 thanks to Liam Dawson's century.

This time it was down to captain Vince to anchor their innings, hitting 14 fours in a typically stylish knock that frustrated the away side after a third top-order collapse in the match.

Somerset themselves had been 45-5 and 65-8 before spinners Dom Bess (37) and Roelof van der Merwe (29 not out) dragged them to a competitive total.

Abbott bowled with good pace and great control to take nine wickets in an innings for the first time, moving him sixth on the all-time list of best figures for Hampshire.

The title race is now guaranteed to go down to the final round of fixtures irrespective of results this week, after second-placed Essex secured a batting point in their match against Surrey.

Somerset host their nearest challengers at the County Ground from Monday, 23 September.

Hampshire fast bowler Kyle Abbott:

"I didn't expect that when I woke up this morning. It was nice to get a couple early and then got on a little bit of a roll and it has got us into a nice position.

"It looked like we were looking down the barrel but the captain came out and played an incredible knock.

"As soon as I came back I heard all the stats. It is all nice to have. There was an opportunity to put them under pressure and we did - they have a Championship on the line.

"It was nice to bat with Vincey at the end. We had our plans and they have gone quiet out there. We are almost close to a winning total out there now."

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr:

"It was an outstanding spell from Abbott. On this surface the new ball has proven to be key and the way he displayed his skills were phenomenal. He asked questions every ball

"It was frustrating at the end in essence because of the early wickets but I think we have seen lower order partnerships in all the innings so far.

"There have been three excellent individual performances in this game: Dawson, Abbott and Vince. With Vince they were in a precarious position and wrestled it back.

"The surface is changing and if we can get through with the new ball then we are in the game. Hampshire scored 400 in the third innings last week and it is a similar pitch to that. There is a great opportunity for us."

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