The Hampshire member who arrived here just before tea summed things up perfectly after a glance at the score-board. "Obviously we're not batting," he remarked. Indeed not, Young Australia having just passed the 300 mark in the 70th over for the loss of only two wickets. Positive cricket that was positively delightful to watch.
This was the first four-day match of the tour for the Australians, something they were relishing. "The one-dayers are all very well," Les Stillman, the coach, said. "But as for the three-dayers, the boys can't get to grips with them. They can't understand why sides bat on after tea at the start. This is more like it, a game only 30 overs short of the full Test distance."
Not that the tourists had any intentions of holding back once they had won the toss. Their idea of pacing themselves is to score at four an over, something instilled in those who have attended the Australian Cricket Academy. The idea is to score quickly, put pressure on the opposition and leave plenty of time to achieve a winning result.
If that is the case, then things went according to plan yesterday in steamy conditions, even though Cardigan Connor claimed the wicket of Matthew Elliott with the third ball. From then on, Hampshire, missing only Robin Smith, were chasing leather.
Martin Love may have missed out when he fell to Shaun Udal for 42, but much of the rest was carnage, from Stuart Law and Matthew Hayden. Law, who came in at No 4, went to the Academy and accordingly almost beat Hayden (who did not) to three figures. The pair had put on 239 in 57 overs by the time Law was lbw to the young spinner Richard Dibden for 134, 96 of them in boundaries.
As for Hayden, he made 146 before Connor claimed his second wicket of the day at 367 for 4. Hot stuff from Australia, cold comfort for Hampshire as the total passed 400.Reuse content