Harmison hammered - Extras crucial as Hampshire thrash Durham
Photo © Paul McGregor
Hampshire hammered Harmison for 34 runs in three overs to canter to a five-wicket victory over Durham in their NatWest Trophy fourth-round match at Chester-le-Street. The home county, batting first by choice, were never really in the contest after they had been dismissed for only 91 runs on a damp wicket.
The visiting bowlers shared the wickets. Alan Mullally bowed tidily in his run-up to the NatWest Series triangular tournament and John Stephenson added to his 2-31 by joining Giles White in a 40 runs opening partnership - enough for him to be made Man-of-the-Match.
Harmison contributed to the batsmen being able to play themselves in by bowling five wides and being hit to the boundary five times (two more than the entire Durham team managed). Robin Smith (23 n.o.) then steered Hampshire to victory with a sound innings in a low scoring match which would have been lower still but for the extremely high number of extras.
Durham captain Nick Speak said that the team had decided to bat first but that the pitch was quite unsuited for a limited-overs match. He did not envy the groundsman his job - to put it mildly. The pitch needed moisture to bind effectively but today there was no chance to dry out. He could not recall an occasion when the ball had deviated so much off the seam.
Speak had taken eighty deliveries to compile his own undefeated 15. He understood the disappointment of Harmison, who is on the edge of an international career, but with so few runs on the board his lack of accuracy was critical. Harmison had some success when Stephenson (20) was caught at the wicket, but then Smith hit him to the boundary three times through the off-side.
John Wood took over with the score at 68-2 after 14 overs and Hampshire lost soon lost three wickets. By then the damage had been done and the loss of 35 extras did not help Durham's cause.