Head coach Sadler calls on struggling Northants to dig in and deny Hampshire

Head coach John Sadler admits his Northants players are going to have to ‘fight for our lives’ to avoid defeat in their LV= Insurance County Championship Division One clash with Hampshire.
Ricardo Vasconcelos trudges off after being dismissed with the first ball of the Northants innings against Hampshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ricardo Vasconcelos trudges off after being dismissed with the first ball of the Northants innings against Hampshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos trudges off after being dismissed with the first ball of the Northants innings against Hampshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The County go into day three at Wantage Road struggling on 95 for five in reply to the visitors’ massive total of 483 for eight declared, built around a superb 186 from James Vince.

Northants’ reply got off to the worst possible start as Ricardo Vasconcelos was pinned LBW by Mohammad Abbas for a duck with the first ball of the innings.

Hassan Azad (19) and Sam Whitman (26) then saw the County to 47 for one, before a clatter of wickets left them 48 for four, with skipper Luke Procter out for a second-ball duck, and then 78 for five when the in-form Rob Keogh went for 11.

Kyle Abbott celebrates after trapping Hassan Azad LBW for 19 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Kyle Abbott celebrates after trapping Hassan Azad LBW for 19 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Kyle Abbott celebrates after trapping Hassan Azad LBW for 19 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Josh Cobb (28no) and former Hampshire man Lewis McManus (8no) saw their team to the close without further damage, but with Northants still trailing by 388 runs, there is a lot to do to reach 333 and avoid the follow on and save the game with two days to play.

“I felt we bowled really well on Thursday, the bowlers kept going in and it was the same again on Friday,” said Sadler.

“But Hampshire took their chances, which is why we’re behind in the game.

“Vasco got a delivery you just don’t want first ball after a day and a half in the field – that can happen, it’s part of the joy of being an opening batsman.

Luke Procter is bowled by James Fuller for a second-ball duck (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Luke Procter is bowled by James Fuller for a second-ball duck (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Luke Procter is bowled by James Fuller for a second-ball duck (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“Hass (Azad) and Sam (Whiteman) played beautifully to put in a 40-odd partnership and we feel like we’re in control.

“Then bang, with a whirlwind we’re suddenly three and four down and the game changes very quickly.

“We’ve got to come back with an attitude of batting for two days, we’ve done it last year on good pitches and we’ve got to have a mindset of doing it again.

“We’ve seen nice positive intent from Cobby – we know he’s at his best when he’s playing like that.

Hampshire's James Vince celebrates reaching 150 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Hampshire's James Vince celebrates reaching 150 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Hampshire's James Vince celebrates reaching 150 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“The first target has got to be 333 to save the follow-on, which seems a long way away at the minute and then we’re going to have to fight for our lives.”Hampshire skipper

Vince is delighted with the position his team is in, and said: “I think we scored at almost five an over. We weren’t quite able to get the fourth batting point but we were able to declare and set the game up really well.

“Conditions were good at times for batting but there’s enough in that wicket if you bowl in a good area with good energy on the ball.

"As we saw, our bowlers were able to extract a bit of uneven bounce and sideways movement, so encouraging signs for us.

“Hopefully we can bowl them out and stick them back in, the weather stays good and we can drive this home.”

Day three starts at 11am on Saturday at the County Ground.

Quotes courtesy of Ben Kosky