Cricket: Morris reveals his flair for dashing driving: Henry Blofeld reports from Basingstoke

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Nottinghamshire 435; Hampshire 159-3

ALTHOUGH Hampshire were given a most entertaining start to their innings by Sean Morris, who was 83 not out at the close, 17 runs short of his first hundred, they still have some way to go if they are to get back on level terms with Nottinghamshire who, if they win this match, will go past Surrey at the top of the Championship table.

Nottinghamshire were happy to bat on in to the second afternoon, for a total of over 400 is more than a good insurance policy on a pitch which is likely to turn increasingly - especially as they are playing two spinners, Andy Afford and Michael Field-Buss.

But first they saw Hampshire get off to a splendid start against some indifferent seam bowling. Morris led the way with a series of lovely fluent off drives and some searing square cuts, which brought him most of the 11 fours in his 50.

Morris is a product of Stowe School and Durham University and up until now he has been best known for his concentration rather than his strokeplay, which is why he does not play for Hampshire on Sundays. But as the bowlers fed his two main strengths he turned into something of a dasher.

It will be interesting to see how he gets on against an attack which keeps him on the back foot and does not allow him any width outside the off-stump. This innings can only have done his confidence a lot of good, however.

Paul Terry also drove well, until he played forward to Andy Pick and was bowled off his pad. Robin Smith then thumped four resounding boundaries before being lbw half forward to Kevin Evans and soon afterwards Field-Buss took the first Hampshire wicket to fall to spin when Mark Nicholas went down the pitch before pushing defensively and was stumped.

In the morning Evans, Greg Mike and Pick all made useful runs for Nottinghamshire before Rajesh Maru finished off the innings with his left arm spin half an hour after lunch.