Mullally's swing proves decisive

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The Independent Online

Another penetrative spell of new-ball bowling by Alan Mullally, which followed centuries by Derek Kenway and Dimitri Mascarenhas, put Hampshire firmly on course for victory in this important First Division relegation struggle yesterday.

Another penetrative spell of new-ball bowling by Alan Mullally, which followed centuries by Derek Kenway and Dimitri Mascarenhas, put Hampshire firmly on course for victory in this important First Division relegation struggle yesterday.

Mullally's bowling was in a different class from anything seen earlier in the day when, on a flat pitch, Derbyshire had discovered that the second new ball would not swing much.

Kenway and Mascarenhas seized the opportunity offered by some variable bowling and for the first time this season Hampshire went through a session without losing a wicket.

Kenway, whose impressive innings had started at 53 for 4, played with selectivity and technical correctness in a six-hour stay at the crease. His patient approach even persuaded Mascarenhas to subdue his more adventurous tendencies and the bowlers scarcely had a moment's encouragement.

Kenway moved easily to the second hundred of his first class career without offering a discernible chance, facing 209 balls and hitting nine fours. Mascarenhas followed, facing 171 balls and hitting 13 fours as the pair added 187 for the sixth wicket.

Alas, Mascarenhas's exuberance at reaching 100 for the first time then got the better of him. He departed soon afterwards, cutting recklessly.

Kenway's departure followed shortly during a thoughtful spell of off-spin by Simon Lacey, who pushed one through as the batsman came down the pitch, and Hampshire's lead was not, in the end, as large as it had promised to be.

But Derbyshire, already facing the possibility that their overseas player, Michael Di Venuto, might not be able to bat because of back spasms, still had problems enough. Mullally, steaming in and swinging the ball late, swiftly accounted for Steve Tichard and Rob Bailey in his second over. In his next Matthew Dowman nicked the ball into the gloves of Kenway, the stand-in wicketkeeper, leaving Derbyshire with a grim battle for survival.

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