A Great Advert
Comment and Analysis | 21st May 2010
The latter part of Thursday afternoon was not very productive. The light overlooking the stairs is still lacking a bulb, the washing up remains on the worktop and the dinner I promised Karyn would be awaiting her on her arrival home from a hard day's graft is still very much unprepared. The reason has not been the customary siesta that has been commonplace on almost every day this week but the fact that I've been captivated by Nottinghamshire's clash with Hampshire at Trent Bridge.
This four day match has seen the pendulum swing between both sides on an almost hourly basis and even though I've only had the benefit of the BBC's online commentary with Dave Bracegirdle and Robin Chipperfield, it seems that it could be used as the perfect advert for anybody who doubts the entertainment value of the longer form of the game.
Going into the last session, all three results were possible and with five overs left to face, Hampshire went from a position of playing out for a draw to needing 23 off the remaining 30 balls. With an hour to go, a Hampshire victory looked out of reach but Dave seemed sure that Hampshire would not give up, much to Robin's surprise. At eight down, it was presumed that Hampshire would bat out for the draw.
How wrong can you be?
A series of boundaries from the South Coast team's South African middle-order batsman, Neil McKenzie, supported at the end by the diminutive Sri Lankan, Rangana Herath, tipped the balance back in the favour of the visitors. The pair put on 56 for the ninth wicket which saw Hampshire home with 13 balls to spare, following a six-hit on the leg-side by McKenzie off Andre Adams' penultimate ball of the over just minutes ago.
Credit to all involved, but hats off to McKenzie, whose late surge saw the visitors pluck victory from the jaws of a draw (or even a defeat) against their top of the table hosts. The game saw two centuries from Hales (his maiden first-class century) and McKenzie, as well as top knocks from Steven Mullaney and Jimmy Adams in the first innings.
Whilst I'm very disappointed that our 100% record has been extinguished, this game will no doubt live long in the memory of all the players, officials and spectators involved. It serves as a timely reminder that anything is possible and that it only takes a few good overs to turn a game.
Nottinghamshire will need to recover from this result immediately and get their winning ways back on track in next week's match against Essex at Trent Bridge. That will be their last home game until August and they must take advantage of that fact if they're to stay in contention for their first title since 2005.
Alex Picker is a freelance author and blogger. He worked at Trent Bridge for 15 years.