Cricket: Down to zero for sad Smith

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The Independent Online
Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .393-7 dec and 271-7 dec

Hampshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .374-5 dec and 220-6

Match drawn

HAVING retained his England place, there were no more fireworks to be had from Robin Smith of the kind which brought him within a whisker of taking a double-century from the Australians first time around here. His golden duck in the second innings was a damp squib yesterday that left Hampshire with no option but to settle for the draw.

On another glorious afternoon, Smith's dismissal by Merv Hughes was a bitter disappointment, Hampshire at the time looking for only their second victory over the tourists after being set up for the final thrust by an opening stand of 167 between Tony Middleton and Paul Terry. Hughes, though, shut the door and Hampshire took to the dug-out.

Terry had been run out for 82 and only a handful of runs had been added when Hughes sent back Middleton for 78. The pair had done a fine job and there was a buzz around the County Ground as Smith came out to join David Gower.

Hughes welcomed Smith with a delivery that he could only edge to Ian Healy. From 191 to nothing was not the kind of celebration Smith, or anyone else for that matter, had in mind.

So Smith departed with a good and bad net behind him for Trent Bridge. At least he won the man of the match award here, while Hampshire can take satisfaction from having given the Australians a run for their money.

This could amount to pounds 50,000 from Tetley, though they are faced with a tall order that requires them from now on to win all their remaining matches against the counties. So far, in a rain-affected tour, they have triumphed on four occasions.

Yesterday, they added a further 158 in the morning and while Cardigan Connor soon sent back Damien Martyn and Allan Border, Matthew Hayden (59 overnight) had progressed to a well-earned century before the seamer claimed his final wicket to finish with 4 for 77.

The real fun in this session, meanwhile, was provided by Hughes, who was welcomed by a 'bouncer' from Shaun Udal, then proceeded to dismantle the off-spinner with some thunderous blows. Hughes remained unbeaten on 61 having hammered seven sixes and two fours.

Left to make 291 from 64 overs, Hampshire were going along merrily prior to Hughes striking again in his regular role. This left Gower in occupation and though he was undefeated, there was no chance for him to shine.