Cricket: Morris lifts moribund match

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The Independent Online
Hampshire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .300-8 dec and 198-5

South Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .264-9 dec

Match drawn

ANY hopes of anything but a draw were washed away by morning rain, which typically arrived just as the players were about to take the field, but that is an English summer for you.

As the South Africans have not toured here for 29 years, most of the side would know nothing about this kind of frustration. But then a three- day game can hardly incorporate the loss of a session without some contrivance and there was no way the tourists were going to enter into wheeler-dealing - even if money was at stake.

'It is not my sort of cricket,' Mike Procter, the South African coach, said and, after all, no one was to blame that Tetley's pounds 2,000 for a tourists' victory or pounds 4,000 for a win by the hosts remains in the bank.

In fact, the only controversy surrounding the last day here concerned the man of the match award, which went to Allan Donald for his 5 for 58 in the Hampshire first innings. One of the world's quickest bowlers was pushed on this one thanks to the offspin of Shaun Udal, who collected five South African wickets for 63 besides taking two fine slip catches.

In the event, one English correspondent changed his vote so some money ended up in a South African pocket following the draw with Sussex and defeat against Kent. Home supporters, meanwhile, contented themselves with a century from Sean Morris.

Morris injected some life into a dead contest once play eventually started at 2.15. On 18 overnight, he just had time to reach three figures by clobbering Tim Shaw's slow left- arm to the midwicket boundary for his 12th four.

By then, Hampshire were five down and all the wickets had been claimed by the spin department. This, though, appears to be the basement level of the South African attack, while Donald, used sparingly, is out on his own in terms of pace and direction. Besides which, there is no shortage of determined batting and motivation. And if perpetual motion turns you on, then look no further than Jonty Rhodes patrolling the offside. England should be in for a fair old contest.

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