I do hope that those associated with a county based at Old Trafford have been following events at Basingstoke these last few days. Despite pretty much losing the second day to rain and what looks like most of the fourth day, Hampshire and Durham have managed to keep the excitement going in this intriguing contest which, if rain weren't to intervene today, could become an absolute cracker of a finish. After feasting on the Tuesday, then only getting 11 overs on the Wednesday, Hampshire declared overnight on 421-5, and so took to the field after a half hour delay. Things couldn't have gone better with the ball in the first hour, removing 4 of the top 5 to leave Durham reeling at 40-4, Tomlinson especially providing a fine exhibition of swing bowling. However, as is often the case they were undone by a counter attacking partnership between Muchall and the young Stokes, as the pair got Durham out of follow-on danger. Stokes then fell to a brilliant catch by Ervine near the boundary off of Briggs with his personal score on 99. Muchall reached his century though, and following a clatter of wickets, put on a partnership with Borthwick that got Durham up to 320-7. Interestingly, Mustard then declared, meaning about 40 minutes at Hampshire's batsmen before close (which had been moved to 6:30). Blackwell managed to remove the struggling Adams, then nightwatchman Tomlinson. However that was to be the last act of the day as Hampshire closed on 41-2, a lead of 142. Carberry however was not out at the other end on 22 from just 27 balls, having tucked into some dreadful Harmison bowling, who appeared to retire from his bowling duties halfway through his third over, having already gone for 18 runs.
So it leaves the match very interestingly poised. It's frustrating that we managed to let Durham get a competitive score having had them 40-4. However even if we had managed to remove the other 6 wickets for the loss of say another 160 runs and enforced the follow on, Durham's top order would have made a much better fist of their innings and we'd have probably been in a similar position but with Durham ahead. Likewise when I saw Tomlinson had gotten out to the last ball of the day I was annoyed, but he had done his job. He had protected Lumb who will now start his innings this morning, and not with 3 overs left last night. All in all this game has thoroughly impressed, with positive cricket being on show from both sides throughout, with perhaps the Stokes dismissal summing up the approach of both teams to the game.
2015 Cricket World Cup Champs!
2 years ago