McKenzie defies Richardson with ton
Hampshire 239 and 269 for 9 (f/o) v Worcestershire 403 for 8 dec
A battling century by Neil McKenzie held up Worcestershire's Alan Richardson-inspired victory charge at New Road but Hampshire are still in danger of being cut off at the foot of Division One in the County Championship. With the 36-year-old Richardson taking 9 for 114 in the match, the south coast visitors followed on 164 runs behind after folding for 239 and edged into a slender lead of 105 when reaching 269 for 9.
Having opened the season with six consecutive defeats, fast-improving Worcestershire can now aim to wrap up a second successive win which would put them 36 points clear of Hampshire. McKenzie's resistance may only have delayed the inevitable. After a sketchy start, the South African-born batsman went on to make 106 from 221 balls and put on 143 with Nic Pothas, who completed his second half-century of the match before falling for 72.
The ever-willing Richardson got Worcestershire back on track when Pothas edged the first delivery after tea to second slip, and after an interlude of spin, with two wickets for Shakib Al Hasan, the strike bowler was back with the new ball. In his second over he finally broke McKenzie's resolve, an lbw decision ending the 39th hundred of his career, but the last pair, James Tomlinson and Imran Tahir, survived until the close.
Hampshire's batting generally lacked confidence or conviction and the theory that they would benefit from a winning run in Twenty20 cricket was blown apart. Straight away they were back to where they left the Championship in a heavy defeat by Lancashire in their last match.
Worcestershire, in contrast, are perhaps exceeding expectations, and once Hampshire's fragility had been exposed, largely through the efforts of Richardson, they were relentless in driving home their advantage. From James Vince's departure in the first innings to his second dismissal on the third morning, Hampshire lost 10 wickets for 69, the scale of the collapse underlining why they are the only side without a Championship win this season.
Resuming at 232 for 7, they lasted for only 25 minutes as Richardson and Bangladesh spinner Shakib mopped up the tail for the addition of seven runs. More worrying for Hampshire was the way the top order imploded in the second innings.
Liam Dawson avoided a 'pair' with an edged four through the slips but Richardson saw off the openers in his first five overs - Jimmy Adams taken at second slip and Dawson by wicketkeeper Ben Scott. Jack Shantry may lack Richardson's zip but the young left-armer bowled a good line and backed up the senior seamer by removing Michael Lumb and Vince with catches in the slips by Vikram Solanki and Daryl Mitchell.