Iain Brunnschweiler sealed his place in Hampshire cricket history when he brought a thrilling match to a heart-thumping climax to record the county's second win in 27 meetings against touring Australian sides, the only other victory coming in 1912.
The exciting finish owed as much to Australia captain Steve Waugh's bold declaration as it did to the steadfastness of wicketkeeper Brunnschweiler and his ninth-wicket partner James Schofield. It also made up for the ill-feeling generated against Essex a month ago when the Australians, under the captaincy of Adam Gilchrist, batted out for a boring draw. Yesterday's effort showed what might have been possible.
The target of 133 off 26 overs looked overly generous and came completely out of the blue. The Australians had looked to be struggling to establish any kind of a substantial lead and when the ninth wicket fell everyone was startled when Jason Gillespie, the not out batsman, joined Ashley Noffke on the long walk back.
After Giles White and Derek Kenway had knocked off 27 in four overs it looked a doddle. Enter Brett Lee. In one savage burst of high-quality fast bowling he lowered Hampshire's high hopes. White gloved a short ball behind, then Kenway was suckered. He pulled an inviting short ball for four, missed the next, another bouncer, before playing right into Lee's hands. The Australian, looking in ominously good nick and bowling at around 90 per cent, dropped in another one. Kenway connected and Simon Katich collected a comfortable catch.
Lawrence Prittipaul's stumps were left in an ugly mess by a slower Lee delivery to complete a spell of three wickets in 13 balls. Thankfully Neil Johnson thrashed a rapid 37, during which he forced Waugh to introduce Hampshire old boy Shane Warne.
The leg spinner quickly whipped out Will Kendall, bowling him around his legs, then Johnson, attempting a similar shot to Kendall was lbw sweeping. In his next two overs Warne also got rid of Dimitri Mascarenhas and Shaun Udal, and somewhere amidst that carnage Colin Miller's off-spin accounted for Robin Smith. Thus it was left to Brunnschweiler to hit the winning runs – lapping Miller to the fine-leg boundary.
In mid-afternoon, Australia lost four wickets in the space of 13 overs to get themselves into a bit of a pickle. Matthew Hayden turned his overnight 92 into the 48th hundred of his first-class career before falling just before lunch, but a 44-run stand between Gillespie and Noffke was enough to convince Waugh that there were enough runs to make a game of it for both sides.Reuse content