Hampshire 405 & 218-6 dec Warwickshire 217 & 69-2: Warne wizardry turns screw

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The Independent Online

Set a daunting target of 407 to win after a tea-time declaration, Warwickshire were two down and still 337 adrift at the close. Saving a draw, even, would be a substantial achievement by Heath Streak's side with the ball turning prodigiously on a deteriorating surface.

The disturbing truth for Warwickshire is that it could have been much worse, given that the degree to which they have looked out of sorts with the bat. Jim Troughton has been a notable exception, his 10th first-class century in their first innings standing out like a beacon against the collective gloom.

A dusty track has been the ideal one for Warne, the Hampshire captain responding with noisy enthusiasm to the opportunities on offer. The five wickets he claimed in the first innings came with a certain inevitability as Dougie Brown, Heath Streak and Neil Carter were left foxed in turn, the sequence interrupted only when Tony Frost, in an attempt to sweep Shaun Udal, looped a catch to short fine leg.

Ultimately, Troughton succumbed also but only after scoring 103 of the 184 runs added during his four and a half hours at the crease. Even so, Warwickshire still subsided to 217 all out from 160 for 5 overnight.

They were well short of the follow-on target and the expectation was that Warne, who had claimed 5 for 52 from 27 overs, would be eager to expose Warwickshire's batsmen to a continuing ordeal. Yet he decided against enforcing the follow-on, opting instead to chart a quick route to an unassailable lead.

The fruits of one session were sufficient as far as he was concerned. Led by James Adams, whose 85 is his highest score in the Championship, Hampshire swelled their lead by 218 between lunch and tea.

The 25-year-old left-hander, determinedly circumspect in the first innings, allowed himself much more freedom of expression this time, setting the tone for an entertaining afternoon, although the occupants of the radio commentary box on top of the pavilion might find another description. They had to take emergency self-preservation measures as Dominic Thornely went to work on Brown, the second of three consecutive sixes by the Australian showering the broadcast equipment of Radio WM presenter, Mike Taylor, with shards of glass after shattering a window.

Brown conceded 25 in that one over, which rather spoiled his figures after claiming the wickets of Sean Ervine with a return catch and Adams via an edge to the wicketkeeper before John Crawley's attempt to join the fun ended after two balls with a catch in the deep.

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