Nash cashes in

Middx 189 and 427-6 dec Hampshire 169 and 242 Middlesex won by 205 runs
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The Independent Online
DION NASH, New Zealand's hero in England last year, was one of the winter's most sought-after signings. Middlesex could have had their misgivings when, in his early outings, he had difficulties in length and direction. Yesterday his 5-35, following 4-61 in the first innings, had Hampshire beaten in three days.

The 23-year-old Auckland fast bowler has an aesthetically and technically pleasing action, stamina and determination and now the Middlesex committee men have good reason to be pleased. He confirmed he had indeed found the groove with his onslaught on Hampshire's second innings.

Mike Gatting allowed Mark Ramprakash to add an unbeaten 163 to his already impressive aggregate until, at 12.35pm, he set Hampshire 448 to win. With a day and a half left and a required rate of 2.43 runs an over, Sean Morris and Paul Terry started comfortably. This was now a good pitch, the outfield as fast as in August. Terry sliced Nash between slips before lunch, but once Gatting had switched Nash to the Pavilion End things began to happen.

Morris was the first of three lbw victims in six overs and looked unhappy; Terry was hopelessly trapped by a ball that must have moved late and very quickly off the seam, while Giles White looked simply nonplussed.

Nash had taken three wickets for eight runs in 20 balls - just reward for seven overs of making the seam hit the pitch at speed. Mark Nicholas was undone by a ball from Angus Fraser that lifted late, which left Robin Smith and John Stephenson to dig in for 18 overs.

The leaner, clean-shaven Smith is in form and he remained uninhibited when Stephenson was lured out by John Emburey. Gatting's mercy may have been strained by Smith's 13 boundaries for Nash was recalled at the Nursery End and shot out Adie Aymes and Shaun Udal in successive overs. When Fraser bowled Smith for a gallant 75, scored off 101 balls, the mopping up was done in a golden evening. Hampshire have now lost five successive matches in all competitions.