Kyle Hogg last night underlined why he has made it into the England Cricket Academy with a career-best bowling performance that helped Lancashire to a thrilling 16-run victory over Hampshire in front of a Rose Bowl record crowd of more than 7,000. The win lifted Lancashire's season by moving them into fourth place in the Norwich Union League Second Division.
Hogg's sustained spell of accurate seam bowling earned him impressive figures of 4 for 20 off his eight overs, the match having been reduced to 40 overs per side after rain early in the Lancashire innings.
Mark Chilton's miserly contribution of 1 for 18 off his allocation underlined the problems the Hampshire batsmen faced. They started and finished brightly, but the middle bit went wrong and as darkness fell so did the Hampshire wickets.
Opener Neil Johnson had whipped them along at five an over, but disaster struck when he had made 27. He was given out playing a very uncricket-like shot to a bouncer from Peter Martin. The ball ended up in third man's hands, but the batsman was surprised to be given out since the ball had gone way above head height which constituted a no ball.
There were fleeting flashes of hope with successive batsmen, but it was far too late. Earlier, Hampshire's bowlers took advantage of difficult overcast conditions to make inroads into the Lancashire batting. Only Stuart Law was able to cope and reached his half-century off 65 balls before falling a dozen deliveries later.
Law, at the start of a two-year contract, could find himself joined by another import if the First Class Forum, which represents the interests of the 18 counties, approves an increase to two overseas players from next season. The man wanted at Old Trafford is India's highly-rated off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, known, because of his traditional headgear, as the 'Turbanator'.
Coincidentally, Hampshire are reported to be interested in signing an Indian player and have apparently had informal talks with Sachin Tendulkar. They could have done with him last night.
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