Sorry Northants are humbled by Hampshire as they collapse to huge County Ground defeat

Josh Cobb scored 44 in Northants' first inningsJosh Cobb scored 44 in Northants' first innings
Josh Cobb scored 44 in Northants' first innings
Hampshire recorded the biggest ever County Championship win in their history as James Fuller helped skittle Northamptonshire twice in the space of just three hours at Wantage Road.

It brought Hampshire victory by an innings and 270 runs and an unwelcome record for the hosts – their eighth heaviest defeat against any county opposition.

Following on after being bundled out for 149 before lunch, Northamptonshire limped to 63 all out in their second dig on day three of the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One encounter.

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Fuller bagged the hosts’ final four first innings wickets this morning – including a spell of four for nine – to add to the two he took last evening to finish with six for 37.

Wickets then continued to fall as Northamptonshire started their second innings, as they slumped to 17 for five before lunch.

A total of nine wickets had fallen in the session with Fuller reaching 200 career first-class scalps in the process.

Northamptonshire’s batters had no answer against an unrelenting Hampshire attack who extracted just enough bounce and movement to entice the batters to play down the wrong line or prod at balls outside off-stump.

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Their new ball pairing Mohammad Abbas (four for 31) and Kyle Abbott (three for nine) again proved why they are one of the most formidable on the circuit.

Josh Cobb’s 44 was the one bright spot in Northamptonshire’s first innings and only some lusty blows from Chris Tremain in the second meant they avoided their lowest ever total against Hampshire in first-class cricket.

The County had resumed on 95 for five but were effectively six wickets down with keeper Lewis McManus unable to resume his innings after sustaining a broken finger yesterday evening.

Gareth Berg was the first to go when Fuller sent his middle stump cartwheeling.

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Cobb, who found the boundary early on, punching the ball square and driving sweetly down the ground, was the next to have his stumps rearranged when he played inside the line to one from Fuller which moved away and knocked over off-stump.

Ben Sanderson denied the Hampshire seamer his hat-trick when he squeezed the ball out on the on side, but Fuller soon had his man when Sanderson steered a rising ball to cover point.

Tremain, playing the last game of a three-match stint for the Steelbacks, survived when Tom Prest shelled a regulation catch to his right at third slip off Abbott, only for the ball to run away to the boundary.

With wickets falling at the other end, Tremain decided to take the attack to Fuller and Abbott who targeted him with the short ball.

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He smashed one down the ground four and guided the ball over the slips for another boundary. He perished playing one big shot too many when he heaved at one from Fuller and was clean bowled for 16.

Hampshire skipper James Vince had no hesitation in asking Northamptonshire to follow on 333 behind with Ricardo Vasconelos on a pair.

The opener had a nervous start, benefiting when Abbott put down a comfortable caught and bowled chance and only getting off the mark courtesy of an edge just wide of the slip cordon.

Hampshire soon prised open the door though.

Hassan Azad departed without scoring, thanks to a good low take at first slip off Abbas. Vasconcelos soon followed when Abbott got one to deviate off the seam and hit the top of off-stump.

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Sam Whiteman, who had attempted to break the shackles by cutting Abbas away for four, then had his off-stump knocked over when Abbott got one to seam back.

The pre-lunch procession continued when Rob Keogh was trapped leg before wicket without scoring, bringing Cobb out to bat for the second time in the session.

He was soon back in the pavilion though when he attempted an extremely tight second run and was run out thanks to some sharp work and a well-directed throw from Abbas at long leg.

Luke Procter came out positively after the interval, taking two boundaries off Fuller’s first over, including an upper cut over the slips but brief hopes of an unlikely recovery were dashed when Fuller found some swing to bowl the Northamptonshire skipper.

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Berg played a sweet on drive for four but soon prodded at one from Abbas and was caught at second slip.

Abbas also picked up Sanderson caught behind to leave Northamptonshire on 48 for eight, two behind their lowest ever total of 50 against Hampshire in first-class cricket.

Tremain made sure that ignominy was avoided before he was bowled by Abbas to wrap up proceedings.