Stubborn and stylish Wagh holds Hampshire

Nottinghamshire 407 & 271-4 Hampshire 654-8 dec

Nottinghamshire snuffed out Hampshire's bid for a first win in six Championship matches after conceding only four wickets during a last day of solid resistance, but will have to concede that their chances of depriving Durham of a second consecutive title have all but disappeared.

Chris Read's side needed to win this to stay in touch with Durham's relentless progress but when Hampshire ended the opening day on 345 for 3 they already suspected that the best they could hope for was to avoid defeat. In the end, in that respect, they put in a satisfactory day's work but after Durham's three-day win over Warwickshire the gap between Nottinghamshire and the defending champions looks too wide to close, even though the two will meet at the Riverside next month.

Required to follow on 247 runs in arrears despite topping 400 for only the third time this season, the home side were grateful to see Mark Wagh's elegant batsmanship earn him his third 100 of the season but it was a small consolation in a match that again exposed the most frequent shortcoming in their effort to remain competitive – the frailty of their top order batting. Only Read's unbeaten 119 in the first innings, the fulcrum of a recovery from 126-5 to 407 all out, kept them in this game.

Nottinghamshire have not put up a 100 for the first wicket for more than two years and among the six opening batsmen used this season only two have managed a half century, the best individual effort being Scott Newman's 87 on his debut against Somerset at Taunton.

Newman was hired from Surrey to bolster the top order but even he seems to be falling victim to the collective malaise. Out third ball yesterday, caught behind driving loosely at seamer David Griffiths, he has had two ducks in his last three innings.

Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire coach, said the title was "Durham's to lose". His Durham counterpart, Geoff Cook, admitted that "if we play well against Nottinghamshire and Somerset at home next month, the cushion we have now might be enough."

That cushion stands at 37pts after Nottinghamshire picked up 10pts here, which looks a daunting deficit with four matches left, though it would be cut to 15 by the time Durham play again if Nottinghamshire can come back from bottom-of-the-table Worcestershire next week with maximum points.

Yesterday, after Matthew Wood had been leg-before playing forward to Dimitri Mascarenhas, Wagh and Samit Patel shared a stand of 110 in 34 overs for the third wicket before Patel, dropped on 16, was caught at silly point off bat and pad off Imran Tahir for 48.

Tahir, finding some turn from a pitch that was left well grassed but has played slow and low, struck again to bowl Bilal Shafayat for six, but there was no shifting Wagh, who batted more than four and a half hours to be 136 not out when handshakes were exchanged, having hit 20 boundaries.

Hampshire's bowling is not strong – Chris Tremlett is so out of form he was not picked here – and while they might have joined the race for second place with a win here it seems more likely they will be concerned with trying to avoid relegation.

Second place is worth pursuing now that the England and Wales Cricket Board have increased the prize money for the Championship. There is £225,000 up for the runners-up, which should ensure that Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Lancashire stay focused.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent