Cricket: Marshall's mark

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Hampshire 271-9 dec and forfeit

Sussex forfeit and 141

Hampshire win by 130 runs

MALCOLM MARSHALL may be a man of few words but 1500 first-class wickets in 16 years speak their own eloquent language. The West Indies fast bowler completed the feat yesterday by dismissing David Smith as Hampshire achieved a remarkable win with 7.2 overs to spare.

His collection includes 376 Test wickets and 774 in the County Championship. He needs another 10 to reach 1,000 in all games for Hampshire but his latest contribution and that of Rajesh Maru, transcended statistics.

Marshall said afterwards: 'I was concentrating so hard on trying to win the match that I didn't realise I had got there until Bob Parks rushed up and congratulated me after he had taken the catch.'

Sussex were skilfully fiddled out, notably by Maru, who took 4 for 8 on a slow pitch. A posse of close fielders offered persuasion that there was an imaginary something in the pitch and Sussex bought the dummy. Seven fielders hemmed in the batsmen and Hampshire showed the predatory qualities of possible champions with Tony Middleton, Julian Wood, Mark Nicholas and Parks taking reflex catches.

A positive result was fostered from this rain-bedevilled match by two forfeitures of innings, which left Sussex to score 272 off what became 83 overs. Their two-an-over plod for half the innings was intended to accelerate into a chase with wickets in hand but two spinners in tandem, Maru and Shaun Udal, restrained them.

Their unbroken spell of 23 overs sent Sussex from 76 for 2 to 112 for 6 before Marshall was unleashed in fading light. Immediately before taking the wicket of Brad Donelan, eighth out, Marshall asked Chris Balderstone, the umpire, tentatively if bad light would be offered to the batsmen should he bowl another over. Balderstone said 'no' and the rest, as they say, is history.

Maru also yorked Alan Wells and Franklyn Stephenson, helping to take Hampshire back towards the top of the table.