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June 19, 2011
Hampshire 232 for 7 v Worcestershire 403 for 8 dec
Vikram Solanki's first County Championship century for 14 months enabled Worcestershire to take maximum batting points for the first time this season in their clash with Division One relegation rivals Hampshire at New Road.
Daryl Mitchell declared at 403 for 8 as soon as Solanki was dismissed for 173 after batting for almost six hours and 36-year-old Alan Richardson unsettled Hampshire with 3 for 52 in two spells until they closed 171 behind at 232 for 7.
Liam Dawson was caught behind from the sixth ball of the innings - giving Richardson his 400th first-class wicket in a 16-year career with four counties - and Michael Lumb made only 6 on his first Championship outing of the season.
Lumb went leg-before to Gareth Andrew's third delivery but with Australian Damien Wright having come to the end of his stint in the overseas slot, Worcestershire's back-up bowlers were unable to sustain the initial breakthrough.
Held up for 17 overs by Jimmy Adams (52) and Neil McKenzie (37), they had to wait for Richardson's reappearance before regaining momentum. Adams survived a low chance to second slip after completing 50 from 70 balls but then played on as Richardson claimed wickets in successive overs. McKenzie was next to go when the experienced seamer knocked back his middle stump.
With Richardson resting again after testing all the batsmen, Hampshire milked some dismal bowling. James Vince made 50 before he was bowled by Jack Shantry after putting on 95 in 16 overs with Nic Pothas (60), but the follow-on target of 254 had still not been cleared when Shakib Al Hasan claimed two late wickets in six balls.
At the start of this month Wright and Richardson were the most successful new-ball pairing in the Championship with 61 wickets as Worcestershire moved 15 points clear of Hampshire by beating champions Nottinghamshire.
Now given an opportunity to go for back-to-back wins for the first time in four separate seasons in Division One, they made the running thanks to Solanki's best performance since relinquishing the captaincy last August. Resuming at 250 for 4, he completed his hundred from the first ball he faced and went on to dominate proceedings in the third century partnership of the innings.
Shakib contributed 54 out of 109 in an unexpected Championship appearance as stand-in for Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, who is due to arrive in the country on Monday after delays over his visa.
Dominic Cork revived Hampshire with a lively new-ball spell in which he removed Shakib and Andrew with slip catches and the captain also held an over-the-shoulder chance at long off to dismiss Solanki after he had hit 25 fours and a six. That gave Dimitri Mascarenhas a tidy return of 3 for 76 in 28 overs.
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