FORMER Worcestershire player Kyle Abbott mastered both bat and ball for Hampshire during a rain-affected third day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One opener with his old side.

Abbott scored an impressive half-century in the morning before striking three times either side of a prolonged break to leave his latest team needing seven wickets on the final day with Worcestershire requiring 265 runs to win.

The South African took 60 wickets and scored a useful 418 Championship runs in his debut campaign after joining Hampshire as a Kolpak.

And a similarly prosperous season could be in store with six wickets and 51 runs chalked up in the opening fixture of 2018.

Resuming on four in the morning, Abbott owed his side with the bat having suffered a golden duck in the first innings before running out well-set debutant and former international team-mate Hashim Amla the previous evening.

The name of the game for the visitors was to grab the two early wickets and set about a chase but that was not to happen.

Abbott, alongside Brad Wheal, batted in supreme comfort with the ball offering little for the County bowlers despite a green-tinged wicket and thick grey skies.

The pair proceeded to keep pushing Hampshire’s lead which started the day 242 runs ahead with crunching drives and delicate flicks off the legs the regular method of scoring.

Abbott and Wheal added 72-runs for the ninth wicket before the latter edged Ed Barnard to Joe Clarke at second slip, scoring his 100th first-class run and highest professional score of 19.

Abbott continued and reached his seventh first-class half-century from 69 balls along with adding another 15 runs with Fidel Edwards.

But he ended the innings with an attempted drive which flew to George Rhodes at first slip with Hampshire reaching 244 and setting their visitors 324 runs to win.

In a tricky seven-over spell before lunch, Abbott struck to dismiss Brett D’Oliviera with the opener stuck on the crease to an in-ducker to be dismissed for only one for the second time.

Progress was then stunted by a prolonged rain break which forced play to be suspended for the entirety of the afternoon session and most of the evening.

In total 51 overs were lost to set up a tricky 16-over spell for the Worcestershire batsman.

And so it proved when man-of-the-day Abbott struck just five balls after the resumption as he created an angle to slam into Tom Fell’s off-stump for just eight.

Daryl Mitchell and Clarke appeared to have bedded down with a riskless 32-run stand before Abbott rapped the latter on the pads for 15.

Mitchell, who ended the day on 34 not out, was assisted to the close by nightwatchman Josh Tongue.