Stephenson foiled

Hampshire 270 & 238-5 dec Sussex 193 & 128-5 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
John Stephenson used all his captaincy skills yesterday in trying to earn Hampshire a third Championship win of the season, but in the end the tenacity of the Sussex rearguard, led by Neil Lenham, stalled their progress as much as the thunderstorms that battered the ground and caused 40 overs in total to be lost.

Play was delayed for half an hour in the morning, and an early lunch had to be taken. When the players returned after tea, the first over had still to be completed when the heavens opened. The umpires took the teams off at 5pm for the fourth and final time. Hampshire were left to rue the lost time. They had left Sussex 315 to win, but had made in-roads, taking five wickets.

Hampshire started well, building on an overnight score of 190 for three. They batted for 37 minutes and added 47. Kevan James and the first-innings century-maker Matthew Keech found a heavy outfield hindered boundaries, but they were quick between the wickets. Their progress was halted by the left-handed paceman Jason Lewry. In one over he knocked back Keech's middle stump then had James bowled when the batsman drove at a slower ball when on 72. It gave Lewry figures of five for 73 - the only Sussex wicket-taker.

Sussex needed a good start, but Toby Radford went quickly. His two runs mean he has scored just 30 in six innings since arriving from Middlesex. After lunch, much was expected from Sussex's captain, Alan Wells, if his side were to salvage their fourth successive Championship victory. But he was out for eight, chasing a wide ball from Stuart Milburn that was well taken by keeper Adrian Aymes.

When Stephenson gave himself a bowl and took the wicket of Keith Greenfield, out lbw for six, Sussex were in real trouble. A square cut by Neil Lenham provided his first runs and the day's first boundary. He went on to make an unbeaten 55.

Another inspired bowling change by Stephenson left Sussex on 58 for four. James was introduced to the attack and in his first over had opener Bill Athey caught by Paul Terry at second slip. At tea, Hampshire were left with 32 overs to take six wickets, but only 14 were bowled and there was just one more victim.