Bond makes himself at home
Hampshire 4 for 1 (Tomlinson 2*, Brown 0*) trail Sussex 332 (Goodwin 121, Bond 7-66) by 328 runs
Shane Bond transformed Hampshire's opening day of the season against Sussex, the defending Champions, who lost 6 for 15 in the blink of an eye at a sun-kissed Rose Bowl. Bond finished with the remarkable figures of 7 for 66 on debut for Hampshire, his best in first-class cricket, beating his 6 for 51 against Zimbabwe in 2005.
Bond bowled immaculately from the moment he took the new ball from the Nursery End, where he remained all day, and only Murray Goodwin - who fell for a controlled 121 40 minutes before the close of play - and briefly Chris Adams were able to counter his pace. In an enthralling final hour, he cut through Sussex's middle order with the precision of a surgeon, leaving the smattering of huddled spectators really rather proud that they braved April's unforgiving temperatures, in spite of the spring sunshine, to witness Bond's memorable debut.
It was the speed with which he altered Hampshire's fortunes, however, as Goodwin and Matt Prior were beginning to take the game away from Hampshire after tea. Once Adams fell for 30, to a brute of a lifter from James Tomlinson, Sussex were tottering slightly on 201 for 4. But Prior and Goodwin complimented each other superbly, taking advantage of the weaker support bowlers to put on 116 for the fourth wicket, and at a fair lick. The pair were both strong square of the wicket, particularly against Greg Lamb's innocuous offbreaks, though Prior showed greater intent and was savage on anything too full. There was plenty of that from Tomlinson, the left-armer, though he preserved impressively and got the ball to lift with venom when he found the right length, as Adams will attest to.
Goodwin was no less assured, characteristically bullish with the cut and elegant off the back foot, reaching his hundred from 144 balls. With Prior also passing fifty, Sussex were in control at 317 for 4. All was changed when Bond took the new ball and havoc was wrought. Prior played all around a straight one, trapped in front for 62 and five balls later Luke Wright edged straight to slip for a duck. Robin Martin-Jenkins couldn't cope with the pace, also leg-before, then Ragheb Aga lost his middle stump to a searing off-cutter. Bond had taken 5 for 5 in 17 balls, and Sussex's promising start to the defence of their title was slipping from their grasp.
In contrast to Bond, Chris Tremlett merely toiled through his overs. Although economical - as he always is - he bowled too short and wide to trouble Sussex's top-order. A last-gasp slap from Goodwin handed him his only wicket, at least rewarding his perseverance for 19 overs. Bond wrapped up the innings, trapping Mushtaq Ahmed in front for 1, casually flopping his sweater over his left shoulder as his new grinning team-mates congratulated their new strike bowler. It was effortless destruction.
For all Bond's havoc, Goodwin's hundred secured Sussex a solid first innings of 332, a total which looked all the more useful when Martin-Jenkins trapped Michael Carberry in front for 2. The match is galloping along in true April fashion.
How relieved Hampshire must be. Weeks were spent duelling with the ECB over the validity of Bond's registration, owing to his participation in the Indian Cricket League, and only last Tuesday was he granted permission to play. Just as pointedly, he will only play until the start of the domestic Twenty20 before Shane Watson replaces him. Judging by his debut performance, only Hampshire and its supporters will enjoy his presence this summer.
Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo