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Warwickshire keep faint hopes of survival alive

Warwickshire retained their sliver of hope of avoiding relegation from LV=Insurance County Championship Division One with a solid start with the bat on the opening day against Hampshire at Edgbaston.

First team coach Mark Robinson admitted before the match that Warwickshire need “a lot to go our way” for them to stay up. First and foremost they have to win with plentiful batting points and they laid a decent platform by reaching 138 for two on a day stripped of 55 overs by rain and bad light.

After the first session was lost to the weather, openers Rob Yates (77 not out, 129 balls) and Dom Sibley (54, 109) added 129 in 38 overs against a Hampshire attack missing spearhead Kyle Abbot (58 championship wickets at 19.68 this season) due to a knee injury.

The visitors chose to bowl but enjoyed no early success, despite some help from the pitch. Their bowling was not bad, and a shade unlucky at times, but perhaps lacked a bit of sparkle, an understandable legacy of the shock implosion of their title challenge against Kent last week. There was no joy for Keith Barker against the team for whom he took 359 first class wickets and which he helped to the 2012 County Championship title.

Yates was particularly fluent from the off and reached 50 from 90 balls with his 10th four, flicked through mid-wicket off Barker.

The scoring rate remained reasonably brisk, as was required with Warwickshire needing every possible batting point. Sibley, on his farewell appearance at Edgbaston before rejoining Surrey, followed to his half-century from 105 balls and the pair posted Warwickshire’s first century opening stand since the first game of the season.

The breakthrough finally arrived when Sibley tickled a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Aneurin Donald off Ian Holland. Holland immediately struck again when Alex Davies offered no shot to a ball which struck off stump but Sam Hain met the hat-trick ball with the middle of a forward defensive bat and bad light soon closed back in to lop off the last 14 overs.

Warwickshire are without India all-rounder Jayant Yadav, who has returned home after being called up for the Rest of India squad, but have welcomed back fast bowler Liam Norwell after injury.

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