Yorkshire 195 & 311 Hampshire 493 & 15-0: Hampshire's title push given a hand by superb Benham

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The Independent Online

Hampshire made a little bit of cricket history and a lot of ground in the Championship race with this comprehensive victory over Yorkshire yesterday.

It was the White Rose county's first defeat in Southampton or its environs in the history of the County Championship. The fact that only 25 games have been played in Southampton since 1895 is neither here nor there.

Flabby Yorkshire batting, with the notable exceptions of century-maker Michael Lumb and Anthony McGrath in the second innings, and ineffectual bowling contributed to their downfall.

But nothing should be taken away from the performance of the home side. From start to finish Hampshire's bowlers exploited the conditions, the batsmen made runs and their fielders allowed the Yorkshire batsmen very little leeway.

In fact, yesterday's second innings was marked by two outstanding catches by Chris Benham. The first, which got rid of nightwatchman Jason Gillespie was impressive enough, the fielder taking the catch low to his left. But following a canny bit of field placing by the Hampshire captain, Shane Warne, for his fellow Australian Darren Lehmann, the second was little short of brilliant.

Warne had deliberately moved Benham to short backward square leg, in which direction Lehmann flicked a leg-side delivery from Chris Tremlett hard and low and Benham clung on to a belter. It rocked Yorkshire badly. McGrath and Lumb steadied things, putting on 66 for the fifth wicket, but too much ground had been lost.

Lumb found himself playing a solo role once McGrath had departed, caught off a half-hearted cut by Benham, fielding at point by then.

Andrew Gale helped Lumb add 52 for the sixth wicket, while leg-spinner Mark Lawson put on a pugnacious show, pummelling his way to a meaty 44, but his aggression and Lumb's patient progress to the eighth hundred of his career proved in vain.

Lumb was last out, caught behind off Warne to give the Australian leg-spinner a third wicket. The South Africa-born Lumb had been in for exactly three hours, bringing up his second hundred on this ground with a pick up for six.

He had just nosed Yorkshire in front, thus sparing the ignominy of an innings defeat, but Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry knocked off the 14 runs required in 3.4 overs to give Hampshire a maximum point victory with more than a day to spare.

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