Sussex 332 Hampshire 304-6: Hampshire hound champions to stay in close contention

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The Independent Online

So there is life in the underdogs yet. No one had given Hampshire a cat's chance in hell of surviving in the top flight this season, but on successive days of this match they have more than held their own against Sussex.

How apposite then that Hampshire's authorities have announced a ban on dogs in the ground. Apparently the recent discovery of an unwelcome canine deposit sounded the death knell for the right of Hampshire members to exercise their four-legged friends on the grassy slopes overlooking this arena.

There must have been times during yesterday's play when the home county might have been tempted to slap a similar ban on the top dogs of Sussex, but as the day wore on that became unnecessary, thanks to the torment inflicted on a flagging attack by the Hampshire batsmen.

Sussex are without three strike bowlers, not that that should be an excuse. James Kirtley and Jason Lewry are injured and Ryan Harris is in limbo because of reports that he has signed for Queensland Bulls, even though he has been registered to play for Sussex by virtue of holding a British passport. The Sussex legal advisers are investigating this tangled state of affairs over the Australian all-rounder's commitments and qualifications. There was plenty of optimism from the stand-ins, left-arm paceman Chris Liddle and the Kenya-born Ragheb Aga, both of whom claimed maiden Championship wickets for the county.

The portents were not good for Sussex when nightwatchman James Tomlinson remained for 50 minutes. Then a stubborn stand between John Crawley and Jimmy Adams frustrated Chris Adams further, before Michael Lumb, first with Nic Pothas, then latterly with Greg Lamb, compounded things further, with a dogged half century as he dragged Hampshire to within touching distance.