Hemp hands help to Hants

Warwickshire 631-7 dec Hampshire 549-6
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While one Australian left handed opener saw his nightmare continue at Derby, another was compiling his first century for Hampshire. Having achieved this, he went on through a long, hot day to make another, and onwards to his highest score. Matthew Hayden is a watchful and pragmatic cricketer, unworried when becalmed. This was the ideal attitude given the daunting position the home side found themselves in yesterday morning.

Gazing up at Warwickshire's run mountain, otherwise known as Andy Moles, they were three down and 310 runs away from avoiding the follow-on. But the sky was clear, the wicket flat, and serious work was invited.

And yet Hayden's modest start to his county career - 150 from seven knocks before this match - should have continued. On Friday afternoon, having scored five, he propped a Graeme Welch ball to David Hemp at short-leg. The fielder's celebration was premature, and had the ball not spilled Hampshire would have been 8 for 3 in reply to 631 for 7 declared.

Hayden and Hampshire profited hugely from the lapse. A partnership with Will Kendall, proceeding cautiously against the full menu of bowlers, passed 200 before Kendall, seeking the second Championship century of his career, clipped the persevering Welch to forward square-leg.

The eighteen-year-old Derek Kenway endured a long and anxious wait for his first ball in first-class cricket. Sadly he soon misjudged a straight one, with bat in up-telescope position, and the stumps were all over the place. When Shaun Udal joined Hayden, Hampshire were still 137 short of saving the follow-on. Udal was not inclined to share his team-mates' caution. It was a brave display that kept a drowsy afternoon alive with another 200 partnership, but by this time the game itself was beyond even the most artificial of respiration.

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