An unbeaten fourth wicket partnership of 126 between skipper John Crawley and John Francis lifted Hampshire Hawks into second place in the National Cricket League Division Two table, bypassing the Scottish Saltires by seven wickets at the Rose Bowl.

Crawley, showing a distinct return to form hit an excellent 83 (88 balls) while Francis kept him in good company to the tune of 62 from 75 balls, which included one immaculate straight six and five boundaries as they led the Hawks to victory with an over to spare.

Hampshire won the toss and, noting their chasing exploits the previous day in beating bottom-of-the-table Sussex Sharks, asked the Saltires to bat first and the captain saw instant results as debutante Chaminda Vaas trapped Dougie Lockhart lbw for 2 while Gregg Williamson followed him for the same tally nine runs later.

Ryan Watson and Rahul Dravid rebuilt the innings after the early setbacks but it was the partnership between the Indian batsman and South African all-rounder Jon Kent which was the main focus of the visitors' eventual 225-5.

Dravid scored 81 while Kent followed his century at Hove with an unbeaten 78 as they added 103 for the fourth wicket.

Shaun Udal picked up two wickets, but Vaas was the pick, showing all his experience in taking 1-31 from his nine overs of left-arm seam.

As seems to be the way in Hampshire's innings, James Hamblin and Simon Katich made a good start in the reply, posting 55 on the board but two wickets in successive balls to Saltires skipper Craig Wright set the Hawks back a step.

Hamblin was bowled attempting a straight drive and Derek Kenway shuffled across to his first delivery and was lbw. Much relied on Katich but he also fell to Wright for a 66-ball 45.

However, the day was set for Crawley, who is timing the ball as sweetly as he has for some time and his left-handed accomplice Francis, recording his highest league score of the season to take the Hawks home.