Fletcha Middleton, Nick Gubbins grind as Hampshire reply slowly to Warwickshire’s 455


The duo put on 124 together for the unbroken second wicket to get Hampshire to 140 for one – 315 behind the visitors – at the end of the day.

Warwickshire resumed to find a pitch that had become slow and harder to score quickly on – the rate dropping from 3.5 runs per over on the first day to 3.1 on the second – but equally tricky to find breakthroughs with the ball.

Nightwatchman Danny Briggs was a particular frustration for his former county as he stoutly kept Dan Mousley company for almost an hour, in a 46-run stand.

His wicket, bowled about his legs by Dawson, wasn’t enough to give the hosts more than one bowling bonus point, while Warwickshire fell nine runs short of 400 in their quest for a fourth batting point.

The switch back to Dukes balls hasn’t seen a marked difference to what was seen in the fixture with Lancashire, but Hampshire did get through five balls during their bowling effort as the ball regularly found itself out of shape. Warwickshire also needed to replace their original ball in the 40th over.

Mousley was given a life on 32 when Ben Brown couldn’t stump him quickly enough, but Tom Prest’s leg-side line tactic had him bowled three balls later.

Jacob Bethell got a start before chasing Mohammad Abbas outside off stump only to edge to Brown.

Either side of lunch, Hasan Ali chipped Dawson to mid-on, before Michael Burgess returned from the interval to lose his middle stump to a nip-backer from James Fuller.

Dawson ended the innings when Olly Hannon-Dalby advanced, swung and was castled. Dawson has already bowled 535 balls this season, only Simon Harmer has delivered more – and the Essex man has bowled in all three fixtures.

Hannon-Dalby was rhythmic, accurate and impossible for Ali Orr to get in against. Orr managed one boundary but otherwise was pinned down against the tall seamer for 22 balls before he was lbw to a ball which nipped back.

Gubbins almost followed Orr straight back to the Rod Bransgrove Pavilion but was spilled at second slip, before he and Middleton found a defensive groove.

It was rarely an attractive watch from either batter but none of the seven bowlers used by Warwickshire could find a chink in their defences.

Middleton was the fastest to fifty in 129 balls – the fifth time he had reached the milestone in the Championship since making his debut at the start of last season.

Gubbins followed him there for the 57th time in his first-class career in 104 balls as he and Middleton serenely reached close in the spring sun. Gubbins ended the day on 67 and Middleton on 61.