Hampshire v Essex: Champions 76 all out but perform well after following on
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl (day two):|
|Hampshire 254: Bailey 89; Porter 4-53|
|Essex 76: Abbott 6-20 & 208-3 (f/o): Lawrence 78*, Bopara 52*|
|Essex lead by 30 runs with 7 wickets remaining|
|Hampshire 5 pts, Essex 3 pts|
New champions Essex were bowled out for just 76 by Hampshire but fared better after following on at the Ageas Bowl.
Essex were 33-5 overnight and Hampshire chose to make them bat again after the efforts of Kyle Abbott (6-20) gave the hosts a first-innings lead of 178.
The visitors' total was the second-lowest in the Championship this season.
Second time around, Dan Lawrence (78 not out) and Ravi Bopara (52 not out) added 127 together as Essex reached 208-3 at the close, leading by 30.
Hampshire began the penultimate round of fixtures fourth in Division One and only 12 points above the relegation zone, although any fears of them dropping into the second tier are likely to disappear if they can inflict a first loss of the season on Essex.
South African pace bowler Abbott reached 50 Championship wickets this season with his two scalps late on day one and he added four more to his tally on the second morning, including Simon Harmer and Neil Wagner, both trapped lbw in successive balls.
By then Essex had avoided the potential ignominy of posting the lowest total in this season's competition, passing Gloucestershire's 61 all out against Kent at Canterbury in April.
Liam Dawson took two wickets in the afternoon session when Essex batted again, including England batsman Tom Westley caught and bowled for 36.
That left the newly-crowned champions 81-3, but the unbroken fourth-wicket partnership between Lawrence and Bopara ensured that Hampshire will have to chase a target if they are to register a fourth win of the season.