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KEITH Barker played key roles with bat and ball as Hampshire completed a resounding 10-wicket LV= County Championship win over Somerset inside three days at Taunton.
The 35-year-old left-arm seamer began by contributing a valuable 36 to help his side extend their first innings total from an overnight 144 for five to 280 all out, Aneurin Donald making 57 and James Fuller a rapid 38, writes Richard Latham.
That gave Hampshire a lead of 69. Barker then got to work with the ball, combining extravagant swing with nagging accuracy to claim six for 27 from an unbroken 13-over opening spell as Somerset crashed to 25 for six before being bowled out with the scores level.
Opener Felix Organ hit the required single for victory off the fourth ball of Hampshire’s second innings and his team took 21 points to Somerset’s four to enhance an impressive start to the Championship campaign.
The day began with the visitors trailing on first innings by 67. Ben Brown failed to add to his overnight score of 19 before being pinned lbw by Peter Siddle with the total on 152.
At 154 for six in the 59th over the ball had to be changed for the second time in the innings. By then Donald was showing a desire to get on the front foot, profiting from some sweetly timed drives as he and Barker ate into Somerset’s lead.
A key moment came on 195 for six when Donald, on 29, was dropped by Craig Overton at gully off Josh Davey.
It was an error the home side could ill afford. Barker had moved confidently to 26 when greeting the introduction of England spinner Jack Leach with a six and a four off his first two balls.
The first of those shots put Hampshire in front. The next delivery saw Barker caught at mid-wicket, but Donald went to a 74-ball half-century before falling to the second new ball, bowled by Siddle.
Kyle Abbott fell cheaply to Overton, but Fuller ensured Hampshire of a meaningful advantage, striking 4 fours and two sixes as Somerset bowled poorly during a last wicket stand of 24 with Mohammad Abbas.
Overton and Siddle ended with four wickets each. But momentum was with Hampshire and a series of wretched shots contributed to the home side’s nightmare second innings.
Tom Lammonby was caught behind for a duck off Abbas, while opening partner Matt Renshaw was trapped lbw on his crease by Barker to make it 12 for two.
Tom Abell followed a leg-side delivery from Barker and glanced a catch to Ben Brown before Tom Banton top-edged an ill-judged pull off Abbas to give the wicketkeeper another victim.
James Hildreth moved to 18,000 first class runs with a single to get off the mark, but it proved his only contribution as he was bowled by a full, swinging ball from Barker.
A similar delivery saw Lewis Gregory fall leg-before and Somerset were in disarray. Overton helped Steve Davies add 32 before being bowled by another full Barker delivery for 13.
The home batting line-up lacked the technique to cope with the swinging ball. Another loose shot saw Davies, on 19, have his leg stump uprooted by Abbott.
Jack Leach was brilliantly caught at cover by Nick Gubbins, having middled a drive off Abbott. After Davey had brought the scores level with a glanced boundary off Barker, an embarrassing Somerset batting effort ended with him being bowled next ball shouldering arms.
Somerset: 211 & 69.
Hampshire: 280 & 1-0.