This lecture was today delivered by the batsmen of Lancashire who, on a fourth day that still harboured a number of possible outcomes (despite my complaints at the end of day 3), managed to well and truly snuff the life out of the game. What Hampshire needed to force a win was very early wickets, while if Lancashire were hoping to set a target then they would have to get a move on with their two set batsmen. The trouble was, as became so painfully apparent at an early stage on the fourth morning, was that being set at the crease meant simply that occupying the crease was easy. Chilton and Smith removed all chance of being out by not playing positively to what was, when stripped down to the bare bones, a fast medium attack. Conditions again were not exactly bowler friendly, but that didn't stop Lancs from shutting up shop. 22 runs came off the first 10 overs, as Smith made his way towards a century and Chilton crawled towards a 50. There was, amazingly, brief flurry of runs as Smith hit a few sixes off of Briggs, but such nonsense was quickly stopped and normal service resumed. Thankfully some pain was removed in the form of Chilton's wicket, edging Balcombe's first ball behind to Bates. Smith got his century, whilst Chanderpaul didn't last long, offering a catch to Lumb at short leg off of the ever impressive Briggs. Croft hit a couple of boundaries off Ervine, briefly making him the most expensive bowler in terms of economy, 11 overs for 29. Croft fell the same way as Chanderpaul, giving Briggs another wicket caught by Lumb at short leg. Lancashire continued to kill the game, though at least Cross began making some shots.
Smith hit Briggs into the deep, but Adams held onto the catch as the allrounder departed for 128 from a mere 306 balls. Sutton was next to go, scoring 2 at an impressive strike rate of 6.45 to keep the game alive... his wicket taken by Carberry and his offspin, caught by Balcombe. You suspect that the delivery was better than his first one on the first day, a waste high full toss that Chanderpaul must still be kicking himself about for not sending into orbit. Cross however continued on his way, scoring at an acceptable rate, reaching his hundred from 134 balls and taking Lancashire to 351-6, a lead of 267 with an hour left of scheduled play. Perhaps finally realising that those still left at the ground should not be put through any more pain, Chapple put Hampshire out of their misery too, shaking hands with Cork. And so brought to an end a game that promised so much at the end of day two, but provided very little in terms of points. Lancashire will of course be pleased that their unbeaten run continued, however 7 points are more than they deserve for such a negative approach to a game as I've seen. Hampshire came away with 10 much needed points, but will be frustrated at how the game died. So it's onto Durham at May's Bounty in Basingstoke tomorrow, and Hampshire will be hoping that the pitch will offer more assistance in the last two days. No injuries have been reported so I expect the same team to start the match as started against Lancashire. A win is a must but the weather is not looking great for Wednesday or Friday, so again there may be frustrations come Friday. Durham however will still be dangerous, despite the upheavals of the last few months. This is a game that Hampshire can not take lightly.
It will be okay
3 months ago