Mascarenhas sets up unlikely win

Leicestershire 139 and 111 Hampshire 268-6 dec Hampshire win by innings and 18 runs
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The Independent Online

A wonderful burst of near-unplayable swing and seam bowling by Dimitri Mascarenhas, underpinned by a maiden first-class century by Michael Brown, helped sweep Hampshire to a remarkable victory with just nine overs to spare. And this was after rain had robbed the game of two whole days.

The win lifts Hampshire to the top of the Second Division and adds to the evidence that the new captain, Shane Warne, has instilled something extra into the side besides the victory song which echoed out of the home dressing-room.

Mascarenhas started his single-handed demolition job in his second over, when Leicestershire were cautiously trying to wipe out a first-innings deficit of 129 runs.

He started with Leicestershire's three Darrens - Robinson, Maddy and Stevens: the first lost his off bail playing down the wrong line, the second fell lbw playing around the ball, the last played on.

The first over after tea saw John Maunders caught at short mid-off and Paul Nixon taken at short leg by Brown. In between John Sadler was caught at slip off Chris Tremlett. Warne then had his fellow Victorian Brad Hodge snapped up in the gully and next over accounted for Phillip DeFreitas.

Off-spinner Shaun Udal wrapped it up, dismissing David Masters and last man Mark Cleary, but the contribution with the bat by Brown, who was released by Middlesex at the end of last season, was a major factor in the triumph.

It was not a chanceless century. Twice he was dropped, the first time by his former Middlesex colleague Maunders off the luckless Leicestershire captain DeFreitas when he had just reached his half-century. The second chance came when he was on the brink of three figures. Looking for the four that would take him to his hundred he top-edged the attempted hook. Masters positioned himselfat long-leg but the ball hit him on the chest.

In between there was some excellent strokeplay and a sense of urgency as Hampshire, having skittled their opponents cheaply on the opening day, were left ostensibly with nothing but bonus points and the draw to go for.

But so well did Brown apply himself that runs came almost as quickly as Leicestershire wickets did later. There was an element of brutality to the second half of his innings which occupied 69 of his total of 215 balls, illustrated by the way he greeted slow left-armer Claude Henderson by smacking him for a four and a six off consecutive balls.