Sadler tells Northants players to show fight after first-innings shocker at Hampshire

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Head coach John Sadler has told his 'low on confidence' Northamptonshire players to 'show some fight, graft and resilience' after their record low score at the Ageas Bowl.

The County were bowled out for a meagre 56 in their first innings of the LV= County Championship Division One clash with Hampshire, who had earlier posted 367.

Northants' effort, in which only Saif Zaib (29) managed to reach double figures, was the lowest total in the Ageas Bowl's 22-year history.

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And it was more misery for a Northants side who have been bowled out for totals of 72, 63 and now 56 so far this season.

John SadlerJohn Sadler
John Sadler

“We are low on confidence, you always will be if you keep getting bowled out," Sadler said. "We have one batting point this year which is just not acceptable.

“It has been a reality check for some. There has been a lot of talk about how we are going to play and what we are going to do but it is time for them to stand up.

“The gist of it (post-day team talk) was that if the game could talk to you, what would it be telling you? The game judges you in the end and what would it say right now? You need to go away and reflect and come back and show some fight, graft and resilience.

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“I still trust every one of our coaching team and I trust what we are doing. We are all on the same page.

"We are hurting. We are trying and we are talking about how we can change things. We are taking responsibility.

“But there are professional cricketers up there and we can’t keep getting bowled out for 50-odd or 60-odd or 70-odd like we have done in the last three or four games.

“When it rains it pours, when you have all these things against you they all come at once.

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"There have been some dismissals today where we have got out; they are a good bowling attack.

“But it should be a reality check for some that two of their most important players aren’t playing.

"Last week (in the defeat to Nottinghamshire), Luke Fletcher couldn’t bowl in the second innings.

"When we were bowled out for 70-odd at home to Hampshire, Keith Barker wasn’t there.

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"That’s the reality check that we need to be better and we aren’t quite as good as what some of us thought we were."

Northants will go into day three sitting on 50 for two in their second innings, still 261 runs behind.

And Sadler added: “We don’t want to make excuses but we are missing our captain and vice-captain (Luke Procter and Lewis McManus), who are both senior batters, and we are missing our strike bowler Ben Sanderson and a Test player in Simon Kerrigan.

"There is 500 odd games of cricket in there. When you are up against it and your backs are to the wall you want to call on that experience.

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“(Rob) Keogh and (Sam) Whiteman showed some fight at the end of the day there but we can’t just fight for 20 overs.

"We need to fight for the full day or a session. We need to get back into the mode of batting in red ball cricket.

“There has been a lot of talk about 'Baz Ball' and how other players are going to take us on.

"Only one player has really taken us on this year - (Tom) Kohler-Cadmore – but James Vince has played Test cricket and is one of the best players in the country and he played old school red ball cricket. He fought and batted and batted and batted and ground us down.

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"The old school methods of red ball cricket are still very much alive and important.

“We need to go back to the strategy of fighting until the last ball of day four that we had last year. It seems to have gone missing for us."

As for Hampshire, they are delighted to be in such a position of power going into day three.

Bowler John Turner, who took one for nine in the first innings and has one for 10 in the second, said: “We couldn’t have asked for much more in this game so far to be honest.

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"The way we batted on the first day set a great platform for us and the way we bowled was the cherry on top.

“I was actually worried I might not get a bowl! I was standing down at fine leg and thinking ‘I don’t think I’m going to touch the ball in the first innings.’ It was nice to finally get a bowl and contribute a bit.

“I will take whichever wicket I can get. It is nice to get my first Championship wickets. It is a game I have wanted to play for a long time

“I thought I was knocking on the door to break into the side at stages but then the bowling attack we’ve got to break through is sometimes nigh on impossible. So the way it has worked out is fortunate. All I can do is take the opportunity with both hands.

“It would be nice to maybe get Sunday off but we will take it ball by ball and if we can keep on stacking up the dot balls it will hopefully get wickets.”