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Hants frustrated by Gloucestershire resistance
David Balcombe believes Hampshire can restrict Gloucestershire to 250 after failing to capitalise on their encouraging start to the LV County Championship season.
Balcombe continued where he left off during last season’s loan spell at Kent by taking three for 38 before the opening day of Hampshire’s campaign ended amidst a clatter of thunder, lightning and hail.
Full of confidence after his success last season, the tall fast-medium bowler dismissed Richard Coughtrie and Dan Housego, caught by first slip Simon Katich and wicketkeeper Michael Bates respectively, in his first three overs as Gloucestershire were reduced to 87 for four.
But opening batsman Chris Dent held firm, facing 171 balls for his unbeaten 59 while sharing an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 108 with Iain Cockbain.
Balcombe should have had a fourth wicket but Cockbain (52*) was dropped in the slips by Sean Ervine on 48 as Gloucestershire recovered to 195-4 before the early finish.
Despite the failure to capitalise on their early advantage, Balcombe remains confident that Hampshire can respond with another strong morning session.
“Ideally we’d have had them six down, but if we come back strong in the morning we’ll be fine,” he said.
“At one point it looked like we might run through them but with a bit of luck we’d like to keep them below 250.
"That would be a nice first-innings score for us to try and attack.”
Balcombe took 33 wickets at 17.8 apiece in division two for Kent last year and has so far taken his chance to lead Hampshire’s attack in the absence of Dimi Mascarenhas, who took 5-25 at the Indian Premier League yesterday, and injured pair James Tomlinson and Kabir Ali.
“It was quite nerve wracking getting the Hampshire shirt back on, we wanted to set the tone for the year in the first game and to get wickets early was a bonus,” he said.