The County Week - May 30-June 5 June 6, 2006

Chasing 400 and going back to school

Cricinfo takes a look back at the week of county action and some of the performances that caught the eye

Cricinfo takes a look back at the week of county action and some of the performances that caught the eye.

James Adams made a career-best 168 not out to carry Hampshire to a five-wicket win against Yorkshire, chasing 404 © Getty Images
Innings of the week - James Adams, 168* against Yorkshire
Hampshire's team is certainly not short of the odd big name, but their success is based on more than just the exploits of Shane Warne and the occasional glimpse of Kevin Pietersen. There is a crop of young cricketers who have been given a huge boost of confidence through Warne's man-management skills and Adams, a 25-year-old opening batsman, is certainly playing his part. Set 404 to win, he anchored Hampshire's chase with an outstanding, unbeaten, 168 off 313 balls. He only hit 13 boundaries, but ensured that his team always had a safety valve in case wickets tumbled during the late dash. They didn't; and Adams was fittingly there at the end.

Bowling of the week - Ian Salisbury
It's been a barren couple of seasons for Salisbury, hit by injuries and a loss of form which makes the tough art of legspin even more of a trial. He is coming to the end of his career but the signs are that he is determined not to leave the county scene on a sour note. The early-season programme notes in Surrey's match guide said that Salisbury was regaining his form of old after working hard during the winter. There was the odd raised eyebrow, but the statistics are starting to back it up. Seven wickets against Essex at Whitgift School - the same number he managed in both the previous seasons - as taken him to 20 for the 2006 at an average of 24. Spinners improve with age; maybe Salisbury has a golden swansong in the offing.

Team of the week - Hampshire
You chase down 400 on the final day at Headingley, spend six hours battling traffic on the M1, then rock up and storm to an eight-wicket win against Surrey. All in a week's work for a county team. Shane Warne even let his troops off training following their nightmare journey to Croydon but it made no difference, especially to the skipper. On a pitch helping the spinners he ended with 6 for 42 then sat back and watched Michael Carberry flay the team to victory at double speed.

Captain marvel: Cameron White enjoyed his first week as Somerset skipper © Getty Images
New skipper takes charge
Before this week, it was looking like Somerset's season may be heading in the wrong direction. Ian Blackwell had just been ruled out for most of the summer with a shoulder injury leaving Cameron White to take charge - in more ways than one. In a bowler-dominated match against Somerset he struck a vital 86 to push Somerset towards first-innings parity. They completed a six-wicket win and then, on Sunday, White produced another one-man batting show with 109 to carry his team to a three-wicket victory in the C&G. Easy job, this captaincy lark.

Festival week
Teams cropped up at various obscure venues in the last round of Championship matches as a raft of outgrounds enjoyed their annual visit of the county sides. Tunbridge Wells proved fruitful for Kent as they comprehensively downed Warwickshire and Sussex extended their lead at the top of Division One to 30 points at Horsham. However, Glamorgan didn't enjoy Swansea so much - and the local supporters were seriously short-changed - as they capitulated in two days against Somerset. Most games were blessed by the arrival of summer, a certain irony given that Gloucestershire's own festival fixture at Cheltenham had to be shifted to Bristol after the recent heavy rain.

Back to school
This was a case of 'naughty boy nets' taken to extreme. Glamorgan's season is rapidly heading the same way as 2005 - into oblivion - leaving the coach and captain far from happy. Following their latest mauling, against Somerset, the squad was sent back to league cricket as a reminder of where they all started. "All the players will go back and play league cricket, go back to their roots, go back to seeing what club cricket is all about," said Robert Croft. "They will spend time in the middle batting and bowling to find some form." Detentions and the cane are coming next.

England watch
Michael Vaughan warms the hearts of England fans with 56 against Hampshire in his first Championship match of the season...Steve Harmison bags a couple in the C&G to confirm his readiness to return...Ian Bell continues to struggle with 20 and 8 against Kent... But Robert Key reminds the selectors that he's still around with an unbeaten 98.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo