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Hampshire v Essex: Champions lose duo on rain-hit day

PUBLISHED: 19:13 21 September 2017

The covers are on as rain halts play at The Ageas Bowl (pic Adam Davy/PA)

The covers are on as rain halts play at The Ageas Bowl (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Hampshire’s Fidel Edwards produced a brutal evening spell of fast bowling to take two Essex wickets on a rain-affected third day in the Specsavers County Championship.

West Indian speedster Edwards bowled a six-over stint of 2-15 after Dan Lawrence had calmly notched his third century of the season.

And the truncated day ended with Essex leading by 69 with five second innings wickets still in hand to set up an intriguing final day.

Only eight unproductive overs, with only 18 runs added, were able to be completed before rain washed out the majority of the day.

But following a quick clean up from the groundsmen, play resumed at 5:20pm for a 12-over burst.

Having taken the new ball in the last two overs before the rain, Edwards stuck with just the third delivery after the restart.

Ravi Bopara had battled hard alongside Lawrence to put on 147 and drag Essex into a lead, but the former England all-rounder edged to James Vince at second slip off a beautifully shaped away swinger.

Lawrence rode his luck with plays and misses on day two, 45 of them according to Hampshire’s analysts, but took to thick edges through third man to close in on his three figures.

He eventually completed his seventh first-class ton from 207 balls with a firm push down the ground, but after facing just two more deliveries Edwards produced a ferocious bouncer to find the England Lions man’s glove and have him caught behind.

Jamie Porter entered with six overs to go as a nightwatchman and he, along with captain Ryan ten Doeschate, negotiated Essex to the close without a further loss at 247-5.

Essex assistant head coach Anthony McGrath said: “After the first innings we were well below par, but Ravi and Dan batted brilliantly yesterday and it was tough conditions today when we were on and off, then we got 12 overs.

“It was difficult for anyone, but it was great for Dan to get his third Championship hundred.

“It shows his growing maturity. Everyone questioned whether he could do it in Division One as a young player and I think he has been at the forefront of why we have done well.

“He has put his hand up in a difficult situation and full deserved his century today.

“Fidel is an international quality bowler and with 12 overs left you are in a lose lose situation. All you are doing is trying to survive and get through to tomorrow.

“You wouldn’t write us off tomorrow, we have been in tough situations all year and we have answered the questions all year.

“If you look at this season no team bowls teams out as quickly as us. If we can sneak to 150 or 200 it will be a really good game of cricket.”

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