Hampshire 405 & 218-6 dec Warwickshire 217 & 213: Warwickshire turn to dust under Warne's lethal spell

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Warne handed his cap and sweater to the umpire almost immediately but Nick Knight fixed him with a stare and made his intentions clear before the Australian had found his range and rhythm, lofting the ball into the pavilion seats.

For Ian Westwood, a left-hander like Knight, it was not such a good start. His first ball from Warne was diverted into the hands of first slip. Hampshire's plans to escape Birmingham ahead of the rush hour were looking good but they were detained longer than expected, not least because of an eighth-wicket stand in which Dougie Brown and Tony Frost extolled the virtues of heads-down concentration. However, victory was achieved 18 minutes after tea, a second consecutive win for Hampshire, whose determination to improve on last season's runners-up position should not be underestimated.

The craft and enthusiasm with which Warne leads and directs are as important, almost, as his ability to mesmerise batsmen. Every delivery demands a pause as Warne adjusts the field, looking for new ways to put the batsman under pressure. Warwickshire understood the meaning of that word. At one point, facing Warne yesterday, Frost could have conversed with any one of 10 opponents without need to raise his voice; at another, as Hampshire closed in on victory, the tailender Jimmy Anyon could havecounted five slips and two gulleys.

After Westwood, Knight edged Sean Ervine to first slip before Jim Troughton and Alex Loudon plotted a safe route to lunch. But when Warne defeated Troughton's attempt to pad away, it sparked the loss of three wickets in 31 balls, Loudon and Michael Powell succumbing to Udal, the total moving to 140 for 7.

Brown and Frost dug in but could not survive the new ball, James Bruce dismissing both before Anyon played on to Chris Tremlett as Hampshire moved to second in the table.

Comments