Hampshire 154 for 2 (Adams 57*) v Essex
Hampshire captain James Vince failed to capitalise on a good start in front of England selector Ed Smith, but Jimmy Adams scored a watchful half-century on another truncated day against Essex. Vince batted with maturity on a testing wicket to reach 47, while Adams dropped anchor for the 73rd first-class fifty of his career in the 45 overs of play before bad light brought an early close.
New National Selector Smith was in attendance at the Ageas Bowl, with Alastair Cook, Jamie Porter, Tom Westley, Liam Dawson and Vince the most likely players to be under the spotlight. But Porter and Vince were the only two candidates able to show off their skills in front of the former Kent and Middlesex man.
Fast bowler Porter took 75 wickets to help Essex to the Division One title in 2017, and began the new season with nine wickets against Lancashire last week. But he was out-bowled by canny Australian Peter Siddle – who managed to find more movement and bounce than his fellow seamers – as Porter went wicketless for 47 runs.
Siddle had Joe Weatherley caught at third slip by Nick Browne, who had dropped the batsman the previous delivery, to end the opening stand at 54.
Thick slate coloured clouds, along with the floodlights, made it good bowling conditions, but Adams and Vince nullified any Essex advantage with sensible and patient batting. Vince in particular seemed to have Smith’s presence in mind as he moved away from his trademark drives to knuckle down for almost two hours.
There was still the opportunity to show off a few flourishes as he looked for early season runs to cement his place in the Test team, with extravagant pull shots played with high skill but very little risk. But just when he appeared in his comfort zone, offspinner Simon Harmer found extra bounce as Vince attempted to cut, with James Foster completing a smart catch.
Adams is likely to retire at the end of the season, insisting only a bucketful of runs could persuade him to carry on. Having already smashed 182 not out against Cardiff MCCU, he again looked in good touch. Unbeaten on 19 overnight, he appeared unlikely to be hauled away from the crease as he left and defended with experience. He took 138 balls to reach his half-century and was left 57 not out when the bad light prevented any more action shortly before tea.