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Ivo Tennant at the Ageas Bowl
April 27, 2013
Hampshire 500 for 9 dec (Adams 219*, Carberry 62, Vince 52) beat Worcestershire 206 (Moeen 55) and 252 (Mitchell 92) by an innings and 42 runs
For Hampshire, this was a triumph deserved not least for having been thwarted by the weather when they were in an almost exact situation a fortnight ago, against Leicestershire. Then, as now, they required five wickets on the final day of the match. The difference on this occasion was that, although the floodlights had to be turned on before Worcestershire's final wicket fell, the skies remained clear.
The one batsman who might well have prevented Hampshire from winning by an innings, or indeed winning at all, was Daryl Mitchell. The Worcestershire captain was making his 100th first-class appearance and he deserved to mark it with a century given that his application was altogether of a different kind to what the rest of his team had produced.
Mitchell remained at the crease for a further 50 minutes, collecting straightforward runs at the start of the session when James Vince and Liam Dawson were on. The new ball would clearly be the sticking point. This was duly handed by Jimmy Adams to Chris Wood and David Balcombe, the thinking being, perhaps, that it was too cold for James Tomlinson to gain any swing.
The captain was but eight runs short of a century when he aimed slightly across the line at Wood and was leg-before. Whether this was through a momentary lapse in concentration or momentary movement, his and Worcestershire's hopes of drawing this match went with him. He had faced 249 balls and struck just eight fours, which told more of his resolve than any inability to find the boundaries.
Michael Johnson, who had once played club cricket in these parts, was supportive in contributing 44 with six fours but, 14 runs later, he too went leg-before, going back on his stumps to Balcombe. The tail went swiftly: Richard Jones chipped to midwicket, having been softened up by a bouncer, and Danny Briggs, sensibly brought into the attack at this point, had Gareth Andrew held at long-on, failing to clear Sean Ervine. Briggs then bowled Chris Russell for a duck, the batsman groping uncertainly against perceived turn.
Whether it was worth turning the floodlights on for Russell to try to contend with Briggs - it would not be unkind to state that he would have groped uncertainly whatever the conditions - was another matter. The cost of so doing, although not as expensive as many punters might imagine, would still hardly be borne by the size of the gate. Not that spectators do not like a good moan. There are already complaints here that they will not be able to afford to stay in the new four star hotel at the Northern End, which will be completed in time for next season.
What can Adams glean from this initial success, other than that his own batting is in fine order and that his attack, although lacking a strike bowler, is quite capable of bowling out (weak) batting sides such as Worcestershire's? He admitted that he thought hard about giving them first innings upon winning the toss on Wednesday. It was perhaps just as well he didn't, for rain was falling not long after victory had been secured shortly before lunch.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth
In all the talk of Bombay's credentials as a historical stronghold of Indian cricket, a region to the north gets overlooked