Carter and Woakes make short work of Hampshire

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The Independent Online

Rain ruined Lancashire's chance of overtaking Yorkshire at the top of the Division One table but Warwickshire found time between the showers to claim their first win of the season and deal Hampshire a third straight defeat.

Neil Carter and Chris Woakes shared the honours as Hampshire, who had been five runs in front with five wickets in hand overnight, slipped to 176 all out, leaving Warwickshire to pursue a modest 78 to win. England prospect Woakes finished with 4-75, while veteran Carter's 5-71 maintained his position as the country's joint-leading wicket-taker with 22, alongside Gloucestershire's Gemaal Hussain and Robin Peterson of Derbyshire.

Rain threatened to save Hampshire but eased off to allow Warwickshire to knock off their target for the loss of two wickets. Hampshire, who began the season as one of the sides fancied to challenge Durham's domination of the Championship, have suffered their worst start to a season since 1995.

Sajid Mahmood enhanced his chance of an England comeback with two more wickets, to go with his five from the first innings, as Lancashire declared overnight on 177-3, leaving Kent to chase 285 to win when play started at 12.30 at Old Trafford. However, incessant rain after lunch curtailed their hopes of taking the eight more wickets they needed in the time remaining to claim a third straight win.

It is to be hoped, in the national interest, that there is no correlation between Middlesex's terrible form and Andrew Strauss's readiness to resume the England leadership when the domestic Test programme begins next month. With defeat against Gloucestershire at Lord's yesterday, Middlesex have lost their first four championship games, which represents their worst start to a season in the competition's history.

The England captain, supposedly recharged after missing England's tour of Bangladesh, has managed only one half-century in eight innings in a measly aggregate of 213 runs.

Gloucestershire needed only 34 balls and 25 minutes to claim the last three Middlesex wickets and complete an 103-run victory they would have tied up on Thursday but for bad light. Hussain took five wickets in the innings and has 22 for the season. Before this season the 26-year-old London-born player had made only one first-class appearance.

Rain foiled Derbyshire's hopes of a win at Northampton, where the home side were hanging on at nine down when play was finally abandoned.

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