Nicholas finds value in defeat

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The Independent Online

reports from Southampton

Young Australia 527-7 dec and 21-0 Hampshire 100 and 446 Young Australia win by 10 wickets

Having made a complete hash of things first time around, Hampshire at least had the satisfaction of making Young Australia bat again for victory here yesterday, which was some feat considering they faced a deficit of 427 after being invited to follow on.

Beginning with a battling century from Paul Terry, it was the sort of situation which gave quite a few people a lot of pleasure. Not least among them was Mark Nicholas, who was happy on two fronts, while Hampshire collectively had made a great effort to restore some lost pride. The captain also said, tongue in cheek, that he was quite relieved not to be coming back this morning after firing off his weekly newspaper column in which he criticised the tourists' attitude.

In the end, Nicholas need not have worried, having made references to sledging and the fact that the Australians made little or no effort to socialise.

Eventually needing 20 to win, Matt Hayden and Matt Elliott knocked off the necessary inside six overs. The result was inevitable, but a Sunday crowd basking in sunshine were given a fair amount of pleasure in the wake of Hampshire's pathetic lapse the day before.

"It was just one of those things," Nicholas said. "We have played a lot of cricket recently and we were all feeling the effects." In which case it was good to see some fighting spirit when complete collapse appeared imminent.

The Young Australians are talented in the batting and fielding departments but their bowling is nothing like as effective, and Hampshire exacted punishment throughout a sweltering day. And as the runs began to flow the tourists began to flag, while tempers became short.

Paul Terry and John Stephenson put their heads down and their second- wicket partnership rose to 199 before Terry was taken at midwicket off Elliott. By then he had registered his 38th first-class century for the county.

Stephenson, who suffered from a fair amount of the verbals, was looking for a century when he was leg before for 89 to the labouring leg-spinner Peter McIntyre, whose three wickets were to cost him 175 runs.

This was thanks to some splendid blows from the middle and lower order, which included 50 partnerships between Adrian Aymes and Kevan James, Aymes and Heath Streak, and Streak and Cardigan Connor.