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Hampshire endure a gloomy denouement as Lancashire go second

Lancashire 593 (Vilas 244, Davies 115, McLaren 107; Berg 4-111) beat Hampshire 395 (Bailey 127, Abbott 97*) and 168 (Anderson 4-20, McLaren 3-41, Jarvis 3-49) by an innings and 30 runs
Scorecard

The final day of this game began with Hampshire's batsmen hoping that the weather might save them only to find the Mancunian climate contributing to their slow doom. Overcast conditions and James Anderson with a fairly new cricket ball in his hand rarely make pleasant viewing for batsmen, let alone those aspiring to engineer a miraculous escape.

That contention was made evident to Matt Salisbury as early as the fifth ball of the day when the nightwatchman prodded forward to Anderson but only edged to Dane Vilas at first slip. The tone of the day had been set and although it was not until 3.02 that Lancashire completed their innings-and-30-run victory there was really little doubt they would win this game at some stage.

There was rain for almost an hour soon after Anderson took his only wicket of the day but les tricoteuses in the pavilion terrace settled down to their knitting secure in the knowledge that the guillotine had been sharpened. The next neck upon which it descended belonged to Sean Ervine, who attempted to drive Kyle Jarvis but only inside-edged the ball onto his leg stump. Hampshire lunched with their score on 81 for 7 and their chances of making Lancashire bat again were slim at best; nothing to disturb the Château Lynch‑Bages and ripe reblochon in the 1864 suite at any rate.

It was an indication of Lancashire's comfort in the afternoon session that Anderson was not needed. Figures of 15-5-20-4 had offered clear proof of his form and on Sunday evening he will practise with a pink ball for the first time in his life. Next week he may be bowling under the Edgbaston floodlights and quite possibly in the early twilight of an English summer evening. One imagines that the Warwickshire batsmen cannot wait for the fun to start.

In a week or two Anderson will probably be required by England. For the present he is clearly enjoying being part of a Lancashire team whose performance in this game mocked the pre-season pessimists. Steven Croft's team are now second in the table after seven games; some folk thought they would be seventh or even cut adrift by now.

"Not many people would have expected Essex and Lancashire to be first and second after seven games but we're in a really strong position and we have a lot of competition for places," said Anderson. "But we're not going to get carried away. We have a big game against Warwickshire and if we get a result there it will put us in a great position before the back end of the summer."

Hampshire batted perfectly respectably in the afternoon session, albeit that they had not a hope in hell of saving the game. Lewis McManus, never one to give his wicket away, defended stoutly for 79 minutes before umpire Paul Baldwin finally acquiesced to Ryan McLaren's fourth lbw shout in about two overs. A callow observer might imagine that he simply tired of being shouted at.

The last two batsmen fell to leg-side catches by Alex Davies, whose century in Lancashire's only innings is in danger of being overlooked amid the blitz from Vilas and McLaren which followed it. But it was McLaren who engineered the authentic dismissal of Kyle Abbott by bowling around the wicket and digging the ball in. The ex-Hampshire allrounder thus ended this game against his former employers with a catch, five wickets and a century to his credit. One hopes that chivalrous fellow Daniel Gidney has sent Rod Bransgrove a thank-you card.

The game ended when Gareth Berg, having batted well for his 49 runs, was strangled down the leg side off Jarvis. Within ten minutes or so a net was put up on the square and Glen Chapple was conducting a pink-ball practice session. Soon after that, a group of happy Lancastrians were playing football on the boundary edge; contented, professional men, they were enjoying deserved relaxation at the end of one busy week and before the start of another.