Zaib shows class but Northants slip to another innings defeat

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Northamptonshire succumbed to their third straight innings LV= Insurance County Championship defeat as they lost to bogey side Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.

Liam Dawson claimed six for 61, his sixth first-class five-for and his best figures at the Ageas Bowl, to reignite Hampshire’s title hopes after two winless matches.

The innings and 135-run victory came inside three days as Northamptonshire, who have one win and a solitary batting bonus point so far this season, only claimed three points from the match.

The County sit rock bottom of Division One.

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Saif ZaibSaif Zaib
Saif Zaib

Hampshire have dominated Northamptonshire in their three Championship clashes – starting at the Ageas Bowl last September and continuing in home and away drubbings this term.

Their three innings have resulted in 1,249 runs – in response, Northamptonshire have only cobbled together 840 in six innings.

This thrashing was fashioned on the first two days.

Hampshire grafted hard to score 367 runs in just over a day, thanks to James Vince’s 95, Dawson’s 63, and forties for Fletcha Middleton and Ben Brown.

Northamptonshire were bowled out for a new Ageas Bowl low of 56 in 30.2 overs and were already two down in their second innings by the close.

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Their head coach John Sadler called for ‘fight, graft and resilience’ and promoted the idea of classic red ball batting going forward. Sam Whiteman and Rob Keogh took that to heart.

The duo batted out 39 of the first 42 balls of the day as dots and took little risks, while starting to nibble away at the deficit.

Whiteman would face 93 balls and Keogh 113, but after an hour of occupation under stunning blue skies, a collapse wasn’t far away.

Dawson’s second over of the day was long enough to see Australian Whiteman attempt a drive out of the rough, only to get bowled through the gate.

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Ricardo Vasconcelos also took the attacking route but missed his slog sweep by a distance to leave his stumps exposed.

Keogh had been dropped earlier in the morning by Dawson before the left-arm spinner had him leg before with an arm ball.

Northamptonshire were 150 for five having been 89 for two little more than 10 overs earlier.

Mohammad Abbas had James Sales lbw with the first ball after lunch to begin a post-interval collapse of 33 for five.

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Dawson returned to pin Tom Taylor in front for a pair – joining Hassan Azad in the scoreless corner – before Jordan Buckingham went back to another one which went on with the arm.

Saif Zaib – who had been the only Northamptonshire batter to reach double figures in the first innings – again impressed with a 78-ball fifty. He showed application, mixed with some attractive shot-making to end up unbeaten on 57.

But Dawson kissed the top of Jack White’s off stump with a ragging delivery and Mason Crane - on his first appearance of the season - got Alex Russell to edge to first slip to end Northamptonshire’s miserable trip to the south coast at 2:40pm.

The last eight wickets had been lost for just 87 runs.