Lancashire 357 & 155 Hampshire 288 & 215-7: Hampshire's chase ends in draw

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The Independent Online

Lancashire had to be content with taking second place in the Championship table and Hampshire with moving off the bottom after a tensely dramatic conclusion here to a match enriched with the ebbs and flows that make four-day cricket infinitely more fulfilling than the froth of Twenty20.

The contest was alive until the final deliveries as Hampshire found the character to give themselves hope of rebuilding their season, even if they did finish frustratingly short of their target.

Chasing 225 to win off 71 overs on a slow, dusty surface that their own leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, had exploited to the full to take 12 wickets in the match on debut, Hampshire simply ran out of time, seven down but with only 10 more runs needed.

Chris Benham, justifying his recall, added 64 to his first-innings 89, but against Lancashire's strong bowling attack, Hampshire did not quite have enough resources.

Tahir claimed the last three Lancashire wickets for innings figures of 7-66, matching those of Shane Bond this season as best on debut for Hampshire, with an overall analysis of 12-189 that beats any Championship debut return in the county's history.

Hampshire's chase started badly. Michael Brown and John Crawley both fell without scoring and at 63-4 Lancashire's eyes were glinting. But they missed a great chance to turn the screw as Lou Vincent, at silly point, dropped Nic Pothas first ball.

Lancashire were then frustrated for 26 overs as Pothas and Benham mixed due caution with stroke-making to add 83 before Pothas was caught behind.

Still Hampshire, needing 68 from 18 overs, fancied their chances and Lancashire's desperation surfaced in a fatuous appeal for a catch against Dmitri Mascarenhas when the ball clearly bounced in front of Steven Croft at cover.

There was no dispute, however, when Benham was pouched by Francois du Plessis at cover for 64. Chris Tremlett was then brilliantly run out by Du Plessis.

Hampshire needed 22 off the last two overs and with Sajid Mahmood and Glen Chapple bowling as wide as permissible it was just too much.