• Refreshed Abbott seals record win

    Kyle Abbott claimed match figures of 8-67 to help Hampshire crush Essex at the Rose Bowl in the latest round of County fixtures. GARETH STEVENS reports.

    Hampshire lost the toss and were invited to bat first in the Division Two encounter. They scored 286 and then, led by their South African opening bowler, ripped through Essex for just 121. Abbott had a spring in his step after being rested the previous week, and claimed figures of 5-44.

    The hosts then piled on the pain by amassing 440-3 before declaring. They once again destroyed the Essex batting line-up, Abbott picking up 3-23 in the second dig, as Essex failed to reach 200 for the second time in the match. The visitors were dismissed for 135, which brought an end to their misery, inside three days. Hampshire’s victory by 470 is the joint second-highest margin of victory in the history of the County Championship.

    The decision to rest Abbott in the previous round of fixtures proved to be an inspired one. The break from the grind of the County circuit allowed the swing bowler to come bounding in with more purpose upon his return.

    ‘It was more on the mental side of things and the travelling,’ said Abbott. ‘My body is used to bowling 20 overs a day – that’s my job – and I’m used to it after six years. But the mental break from the game and not having to sit on a bus for four hours or in another hotel room is quite nice. I feel like I’ve come back fresh.’

    The only Division One fixture to have been completed so far saw Nottinghamshire beat Middlesex in a high-scoring match at Trent Bridge. Dawid Malan missed out at the top of the order in both innings, making 17 and 15 respectively.

    The match, which seemed destined for a draw, came to life in the fourth innings. Riki Wessels, son of the former Proteas captain Kepler, scored 74 not out off 48 balls to steer his side to 387-4 in 74.5 overs, and victory by 6 wickets.

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