Abbas puts Hampshire on track for a victory over Middlesex

Middlese's Sam Robson hits four runs during the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Lord's Cr

Middlese's Sam Robson hits four runs during the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. Picture date: Thursday April, 8, 2021. - Credit: PA

A stunning spell of bowling from Mohammad Abbas has put Hampshire on track for victory over Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl.

The Pakistan quick ripped through the Middlesex top order with a brilliant hat-trick, bowling full and fast to expose the poor footwork of the visiting batsmen.

Abbas struck with his fifth, sixth and seventh deliveries en route to figures of 6-11 from 11 overs to leave the 2016 champions staring down the barrel of a second successive LV= Insurance County Championship defeat following last week's dispiriting loss to Somerset.

Seamer Brad Wheal chipped in with 3-4 as Middlesex were bowled out for 79 - their lowest score against Hampshire for 65 years - in response to Hampshire first innings total of 319.

But perhaps mindful of losing to Essex four years ago after enforcing the follow-on, skipper James Vince opted to bat again as the hosts closed the day 444 runs in front with Sam Northeast, 99, and Ian Holland, 90, unbeaten at the close following a 202-run stand.

Hampshire earlier added 38 runs to their overnight total, led by Kyle Abbot's fighting 58, with Steve Finn wrapping up the tail before lunch to post figures of 4-95 in his first red-ball appearance in almost two years.

But any hope Middlesex had of posting a challenging response were dashed after just six overs when they slumped to 14-5 - with Abbas taking all five wickets - and at one stage boasting figures of 5-3 from four overs.

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Max Holden was the first of his victims, before Nick Gubbins departed first ball.

Captain Steve Eskinazi then edged behind to Lewis McManus for a duck from the opening delivery of Abass' second over to present the 31-year with his maiden first-class hat-trick.

Robbie White and Martin Andersson were then trapped lbw without scoring by Abbas as a shellshocked Middlesex went to lunch at 23-5.

Sam Robson, a centurion last week at Lord's, became Abbas' sixth wicket when he was caught behind for 18 shortly after the restart before Abbott rearranged Toby Roland-Jones' s stumps four balls later.

Wheal then ran through the visitors' lower order with only Nathan Sowter showing any signs of resistance with an unbeaten 24.

Mohammad Abass after taking a hat-trick and 6-11, said: "It's a great day for me. I took two wickets and before I bowled for my third wicket I realised Ramadan is going on and that is lucky for us and Friday is a day that is lucky for me.

"I have played here before when I was with Pakistan and the pitch had something in it for me and I bowled on point in the right areas."

Middlesex batsman Max Holden said: "There is a lot of gutted guys in the dressing room at the moment. The bowlers put a lot of effort and toiled hard on what is a pretty decent cricket wicket and controlled the run rate well.

"It was the turn of the batters to step up but we didn't deliver. Mohammad Abass is a world-class bowler but as far we we are concerned there is no excuse for getting bowled out for 79 on that wicket".