England wallop Hampshire

Darren Gough picked up a hat-trick to overshadow Kevin Pietersen’s 77, as England thrashed Hampshire emphatically in the NatWest Series warm-up match.

As if losing three early wickets while chasing tricky target of 239 weren’t enough, Gough picked up a hat-trick, reducing the county to 16/6, to finish with figures of 10/3. Hampshire could resist only until reaching a total of 85.

Earlier in the day, having been put in to bat first, England started cautiously, after losing two early wickets; both openers Marcus Trescothick and wicket-keeper Geraint Jones falling cheaply. Skipper Michael Vaughan crafted a painful 24 off 66 balls in a 52-run partnership with Andrew Strauss, before being trapped in front.

At 62/3, Flintoff joined Strauss in the middle, with plenty of time warranting him an opportunity for a big score, and maybe even bat alongside another big-hitter, Kevin Pietersen, who was up next. However, his sojourn in the middle was short-lived, as Billy Taylor got the better of him, enticing him to miscue to mid-off.

Pietersen, who plays for Hampshire when not under national duty, lifted England from the trouble with an articulate 77 off just 80 balls. Strauss alongside, wasn’t left behind either as he brought up his half century in just 69 balls even while wickets were falling around him, before playing second fiddle to Pietersen.

A late flurry of wickets meant that England couldn’t last the entire 50 overs; they fell two balls short. Chris Tremlett, a prospective national member for the future, and Taylor both picked up three wickets each.

Hampshire got off to a disastrous start, losing two wickets in the second over of the innings to Simon Jones, who found himself playing after Steve Harmison had to pull out as a result of an ankle injury. And it got only worse for the county, as national member Vikram Solanki, playing for Hampshire instead on loan, was run out shortly, reducing them to 10/3.

Greg Lamb and overseas player Craig McMillan managed to hang around till the 9th over, when Gough struck. McMillan, John Crawley and Chris Benham fell on consecutive balls, leaving Hampshire with not even the tinniest of chances of a win.

Shaun Udal and Tremlett threw their bat at everything that came their way, but fell soon, with the innings closed at 85, and England clinched a mammoth win.

England now play Australia in a Twenty20 international at the Rose Bowl again on Monday, and open the NatWest Series against Bangladesh at The Brit Oval three days later on Thursday.

England 238 all out in 49.4 overs
AJ Strauss 85, KP Pietersen 77, CT Tremlett 3/43, J Lewis 3/45, BV Taylor 3/39
Hampshire 85 all out in 19.5 overs
D Gough 3/10, SP Jones 3/18, Kabir Ali 2/32
England won by 153 runs

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