County Championship: Mohammad Abbas hat-trick puts Hampshire in control of Middlesex

Mohammad Abbas
Mohammad Abbas took five wickets with the first 17 balls of his new-ball spell in Middlesex's first innings
LV= County Championship Group Two, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (day two):
Hampshire 319: Holland 64; Finn 4-96 & 204-2: Northeast 99*, Holland 90*
Middlesex 79: Sowter 24*; Abbas 6-11, Wheal 3-9
Hampshire (6 pts) lead Middlesex (3 pts) by 444 runs

Mohammad Abbas took a hat-trick in a devastating spell of pace bowling to put Hampshire on course for a comprehensive win against Middlesex.

The Pakistan international claimed 6-11 as Middlesex made just 79 in reply to Hampshire's first innings 319.

The hosts elected not to enforce the follow-on but were pegged back to 2-2 early in their second innings.

However, Sam Northeast (99 not out) and Ian Holland (90 not out) pushed them on to 204-2 by stumps, a lead of 444.

The day had started with Hampshire adding another 38 runs to their overnight 281-8 as Kyle Abbott ground out a dogged 58 in a ninth-wicket stand worth 61 with Brad Wheal (21).

Steven Finn finished with 4-96 on his first-class return.

But the main event came within Abbas' first 17 balls of his new-ball spell of Middlesex's reply.

The Pakistan seamer started with a hat-trick as he snared Max Holden, Nick Gubbins and Stevie Eskinazi in successive balls across his first two overs.

By lunch, he had claimed two more wickets and went on to take the first six.

Abbott and then Wheal (3-9) got involved and Middlesex were dismissed for their lowest score at the Ageas Bowl within 34.4 overs.

James Vince opted not to ask his bowlers to go again despite a first-innings lead of 240 and might have had second thoughts when Joe Weatherley and Tom Alsop fell early.

But Northeast and Holland both made their second half-centuries of the match and look set for three figures on the third day as they added an unbroken 202 for the third wicket to leave Middlesex staring down the barrel of a second defeat in two games.

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