Hampshire completed a 196-run victory over newly promoted Worcestershire in the teams’ County Championship division one opener at the Ageas Bowl.
Kyle Abbott followed up his second-innings 51 with 4-45 to give him seven wickets in the match as Hampshire wrapped up the game before lunch on the fourth day. Australian overseas Travis Head top-scored for the visitors with an unbeaten 45 but ran out of partners.
Jack Leach’s side had given up a 79-run first-innings lead after making 211 in response to Hampshire’s 290, in which captain James Vince had made a brisk 75 and seamer Gareth Berg a typically spirited 75* from No.8.
Highly thought of wicketkeeper Ben Cox top-scored with 65 in Worcestershire’s first innings to keep them in the game, but not close enough. Hampshire amassed runs through their order in the game’s third innings, with Kolpak South African Abbott top-scoring after his compatriot Amla was run-out for 36, to make 244 and build a lead that proved way beyond Worcestershire.
Despite this defeat, the Pears have cause for optimism in the form of captain Joe Leach, who took seven wickets, Head, Cox and back-up seamers Steve Magoffin (4-121) and Josh Tongue (4-101), but they need more runs on the board to avoid an immediate drop back down to the second division.
Hampshire are due at The Oval to begin their match against Surrey, who didn’t have a game this round, on Friday, while Worcestershire travel to Taunton to take on Somerset.