Collapse by Hampshire wastes Taylor's burst

Hampshire 197 & 111-6
Gloucestershire 221

Billy Taylor does not have quite the aura of Shane Warne, but yesterday the former Sussex seamer outshone the Australian leg spinner with a devastating burst of wicket-taking that helped keep Hampshire, briefly at least, in touch with their opponents.

Billy Taylor does not have quite the aura of Shane Warne, but yesterday the former Sussex seamer outshone the Australian leg spinner with a devastating burst of wicket-taking that helped keep Hampshire, briefly at least, in touch with their opponents.

The fact that Hampshire, who had restricted Gloucestershire to a modest first -innings lead, then subsided rather tamely second time around was a huge disappointment, the top order failing to build on another sound start by James Adams and Michael Brown.

It was a day when everything seemed to happen in threes, the Hampshire second innings being a shocking example, with a first trio of wickets falling in eight balls early in the final session and a second clutch of three tumbling shortly before the close to leave Gloucestershire just 87 runs behind and contemplating victory sometime later today.

Yet, Gloucestershire made shaky progress on an overcast and distinctly nippy morning, losing three wickets inside the first hour, two to Warne. Then Taylor was introduced into the attack and after three warm-up overs he struck with the first ball of his fourth, bowling Alex Gidman off his pads. New man Stephen Adshead had no time to acclimatise before Taylor induced an attempted cut and Derek Kenway took the catch. That double-wicket maiden was followed by another run-free over before Taylor accounted for Mark Hardinges, who presented Kenway with his third catch of the innings.

Taylor was unable to capitalise on his unplayable spell of three for nought in 16 balls, firstly because the incoming batsman Jon Lewis smacked the first two balls to the boundary; secondly because Taylor left the field straightaway.

Apparently, he was suffering from a "tightness" of his left hamstring, so as a precaution, he took the rest of the day off. It was a pity from a home perspective because Lewis proceeded to punch his way to a belligerent 40 at better than a run-a-ball.

Two of his seven boundaries came off Warne, a feat in itself since the Hampshire captain conceded a total of three in his 23 overs. Lewis also clobbered a six. In contrast Gloucestershire new boy Kadeer Ali, while showing commendable diligence, never quite got on top of the attack and spent a dour 183 minutes at the crease for a boundary-free, 144-ball 33.

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