Cricket / B & H Quarter-Finals: Replay trial adjourned

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The Independent Online
Hampshire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223-7

Northamptonshire . . . . . . . . . . . . .160-3

THE second television-replay trial was adjourned without a decision being made yesterday, either on the pitch or in the third umpire's box, but it looks as though the scheme will feature in the Ashes series, if not at Old Trafford next week, then later on.

It also seems likely that, barring a day's rain, Northamptonshire will reach the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-finals after manoeuvring themselves into what should, despite a suicidal last six balls, be a winning position against the holders. They will resume this morning needing 64 runs in 10.3 overs with seven wickets left.

The cameras will not be here to see it and, because of that, neither will the Test and County Cricket Board officials who were attempting to assess the replay system's efficiency. The third umpire, David Shepherd, was not required to adjudicate yesterday despite a stumping and two run-outs.

However, Tim Lamb, the TCCB's cricket secretary, said umpires, administrators and players had all approved of the concept. It would appear that the working party looking at the scheme will follow suit, and it could be in place as early as the first Test next week. If that is too soon it would be acceptable, Lamb said, 'if it was only used for part of the series.'

The scheme certainly has more chance of figuring in the series than David Gower, who fluffed the opportunity of a big score despite emerging marginally ahead in an enthralling clash with Curtly Ambrose.

That was the highlight of a Hampshire innings which was a struggle from the moment they were put in. Ambrose and Paul Taylor revelled in the muggy atmosphere, restricting Robin Smith to three in his first 10 overs. A pulled six off Tony Penberthy hinted at another Edgbaston, but he fell to his nemesis, spin, driving at Nick Cook. When Paul Terry, the day's most fluent batsmen, was caught off a leading edge the innings rested on Gower but, after a glorious late cut off Ambrose, he was caught at deep square-leg off the more prosaic pace of Kevin Curran.

Nigel Felton, the Northamptonshire opener, batted solidly until he was stumped following a rash charge. Six balls later Rob Bailey failed in a crazy second-run attempt and Allan Lamb then wisely snatched at the offer of bad light. But if it rains all day today, Hampshire will go through.