Somerset took three wickets on a rain-affected day three at the Ageas Bowl, but Hampshire stood firm to take the game into a fourth day.
Hampshire resumed on 18 for one, with Will Smith and Tom Alsop looking to bat long into the day. Alsop reached his third half century of the season when running three off a clip round the corner to long leg. Confidence running through his veins, the youngster then took one too many risks, reaching for a wide one from Peter Trego’s first over of the day and his edge went low to Marcus Trescothick at a wide first slip.
Smith was joined by Michael Carberry and the experienced duo made it through to lunch without further casualties.
Somerset and Lewis Gregory came out strongly after lunch and a Hampshire wobble threatened to compromise the morning’s good work. Gregory bowled his best spell of the match, claiming the prized scalp of skipper Will Smith, who played onto his timbers in the same way Jimmy Adams did the night before. At this point the home side were 113 for three.
Liam Dawson was next in and managed only three before feeling for a wide Gregory delivery. His edge went straight into the hands of Trescothick, this time in his more conventional second slip position, and the ex-England man made no mistake. Carberry was then joined by Sean Ervine and the pair defended resolutely, although both rode their luck at times. Carberry stood firm after Craig Overton went up for a caught behind but luckily for Carberry the umpire turned down the appeals. Ervine meanwhile slashed at a wide one which flew aerially through the vacant third slip region.
All the while the light was fading and the ground staff were getting into position with the covers as the rain approached from the west. The pair reached an important 50 partnership off 106 balls, before the players left the field at 3:18pm.
It was to be the last action of the day.
After play was called off for the day Somerset Captain Chris Rogers said: “It was a good battle today. We knew Hampshire weren’t going to just roll over and we were going to have to work hard. We’ve chipped away, and we’re in a really good position, but they’ve put on a little bit of a partnership.
“Hopefully there’s no rain tomorrow and we get a chance to have another go at them. If we can do that, we could get through them, but I think this partnership is really important. The wicket’s pretty good to bat on. You have to work hard and have a little luck too. We were lucky enough that the nicks went to the slips who were in the right positions. We’ve done a pretty good job and got some good rewards”
“Lewis Gregory has looked at some footage and said he’d picked up a couple of bad habits with the white ball. He came out today and really rectified that in the second innings and has been our best bowler. That’s credit to him because it shows he’s learning on the job. Today’s been very good by him on a wicket that’s kind of skidding and keeping low. He’s really attacked the stumps and put the ball in the right areas.
“We’re quite blessed with a good core of young players who have a lot of potential. It’s enjoyable for the likes of Tres, myself, Hildy and Tregs to be around and help. There’s so much to like about the Overtons, Lewis, and Leachy, who’s been excellent this year as well. We’ve got a lot of energy because they’re young, and I think that’s helping us.
“Fingers crossed for tomorrow. The forecast doesn’t look great. If we can attack them, the bowlers will be a bit fresher, and we’ve just got to hope it goes our way”