Reeve's antics backfire on Warwickshire

CRICKET: Hampshire turn expectations upside down, Lancashire hold out for a draw and spin brings Essex back to earth
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The Independent Online
reports from Edgbaston

Hampshire 274 & 276-5 dec Warwickshire 192 & 236

(Hampshire win by 122 runs)

Warwickshire's efforts to salvage a draw from a contest in which they were running second throughout persuaded Dermot Reeve to indulge in some tactical eccentricity yesterday, but in the end nothing could deny Hampshire a win that turned expectations upside down.

When Reeve is about, dull moments are rare but his behaviour on this occasion, giving a different slant to the phrase "throwing the bat", was bizarre even by the standards of the Warwickshire captain.

Against a left-arm spinner bowling into the rough outside leg-stump, calculated use of the pads to "play" the ball is a lawful if negative ploy. It does, however, carry the risk of inadvertently giving a catch, off bat or glove, which is why the batsman takes the precaution of holding the bat as far from danger as possible.

Reeve went a step further against Hampshire's Raj Maru as Warwickshire, declining to chase a substantial target, sought to grind out the three- point "bonus" for a draw. Not content merely to raise the bat above his head as he thrust his left pad at the ball, Reeve tossed the bat away in the direction of silly point. During 28 overs at the crease he performed this manoeuvre 15 times.

"I saw John Emburey do it some years ago against Norman Gifford after he had almost been caught off the glove," Reeve said. "The next ball he simply dropped the bat. I've seen too many batsmen out because the ball has bounced off the pad on to the bat or glove, and if you drop the bat that cannot happen."

Reeve arrived with Warwickshire 111 for 4 and seven overs into the afternoon. As in the morning session, which began with precisely 350 needed to fashion an unlikely win, the champions had been knocked back by two early dismissals. Wasim Khan and Dominic Ostler had fallen in Winston Benjamin's opening spell. Now Nick Knight, who might have given them a chance, was bowled by Stuart Milburn, and Shaun Pollock was caught.

Reeve waited 11 overs to score a run and after his antics Raj Maru must have felt there was poetic justice in his downfall first ball after tea, ruled to have been caught behind off the left-arm seamer, Kevan James.

If not in trouble then at 173 for 5 with 30 overs still to go, Warwickshire certainly were when Cardigan Connor reduced them to 187 for 7 by removing Trevor Penney and Neil Smith in the space of three balls.

Scoreboard, page 23