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David Lloyd at the Ageas Bowl
May 25, 2013
Lancashire295 and 63 for 3 lead Hampshire 258 (Bailey 84, Dawson 55, Chapple 5-55, Hogg 4-76) by 100 runs
With Lancashire's Great Glen, the irrepressible captain Chapple, and Hampshire's soon to depart Australian import, George Bailey, having taken turns to sparkle under an oh so welcome sun, this game is not quite ready to be written off as a watery draw.
Stalemate remains the likeliest outcome, a hardly surprising conclusion given that 88 overs were lost to the weather across the first two days. But whatever the result on the final day, there have been three or four individual performances to take away and treasure.
At 39, Chapple is clearly nearing the end of a wonderful career with Lancashire. He cannot, however, have enjoyed many patches more purple than the one which threatened to shatter Hampshire here shortly after lunch.
The game was proceeding along quite gently when Chapple suddenly found the reverse swing he had been seeking. The bare statistic of what followed is that he captured four wickets in the space of six deliveries, spread across two overs, but those figures do not begin to do justice to what occurred.
Shielding the ball in his hands so that the home batsmen could gain no clue about what was coming next, he swung it both ways to viciously good effect.
James Vince was well caught, low down at second slip, by Lancashire's first innings hero, Andrea Agathangelou. Then, a couple of deliveries later, left-hander Sean Ervine shouldered arms to what he thought was an outswinger, only to have his off stump clipped.
The two best balls, though, were saved for youngsters Michael Bates and Chris Wood at the start of Chapple's next over. Both were of near yorker length, both swerved in late and fast and if either batsman had kept them out it would not have been far short of a miracle.
Suddenly, Hampshire were 144 for 7, and they might have struggled to make 160 had Bailey, on 29, been held by a diving Stephen Moore at square leg following an uppish clip against Wayne White. Instead, the chance went to ground, the ball stopped doing precisely as Chapple commanded and the hosts were able to hit back strongly.
Chapple was not to be denied the 37th five-for of his career (and his first against Hampshire) with David Balcombe chipping to midwicket. But he did have to go without a 900th first-class victim (for another day, at least) because keeper Gareth Cross was unable to pouch a diving catch when Bailey edged on 42.
Even at that stage, though, the magic bubble had been burst with Danny Briggs, at No. 10, looking cool and comfortable in support of the home team's last front-line batsman.
Bailey is set to join Australia's Champions Trophy squad after this match and it seems unclear whether he will return later in the summer. If not, he may well have ended a six-week stay as he began it - by narrowly missing out on a maiden Championship century.
Against Leicestershire, on debut, Bailey batted beautifully throughout to reach 93. This time he had a couple of escapes but there was also some splendidly clean hitting and fierce counter-attacking - just as one would expect from an international T20 captain.
A dozen fours and a straight six, off Kyle Hogg, took Bailey into the 80s before a mistimed drive into the covers ended his hopes of a hundred. Still, from looking in trouble, Hampshire had been piloted back to within touching distance of their visitors - a position which James Tomlinson and Balcombe reinforced by making three strikes against Lancashire's top order.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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