Carbs plays for laughs in final stages of dull draw

Michael Carberry having a bowl against Lancashire. Picture: Neil Marshall
Michael Carberry having a bowl against Lancashire. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Sam Northeast during the press conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday. Picture:

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It tells you all you need to know about the competitive nature of a final day of a County Championship game when Michael Carberry is going through his impressive repertoire of cricketing impressions and Chris Wood is bowling leg-spin.

Lancashire opted for the defensive approach and decided against setting up a final day run chase with a declaration.

So spectators were treated to Carberry becoming cricket’s version of John Virgo or Novak Djokovic, who each like to perform their own exaggerated versions of their sporting comrades.

The Hampshire batsman is very good at it as well as he recreated the bowling actions of Dominic Cork, David Balcombe, Hamza Riazuddin, Martin Saggers – who also happened to be umpiring – Alex Tudor and Glen Chapple in his amusing over.

Apparently, he also does some even better batting impressions in the nets.

Wood then got in on the act and abandoned his usual action to try some spin.

And all this during a game between two sides challenging for promotion and playing out a draw.

Perhaps there are some grumpy folk out there who moan about a ‘final day farce’.

But nobody took the mickey out of the game.

The match was finished as a spectacle long before the two entertaining turns.

It is just what you get with four-day cricket sometimes.

Unfortunately, the second day’s rain and the loss of 88 overs in total meant there was little chance of a result – especially with the visitors clearly against that idea and opting for such a conservative strategy.

Hampshire’s first innings total of 258 left them knowing they had to bowl Lancashire out quickly on day four to give themselves any real hope.

Resuming on 63 for three, the early breakthrough was not forthcoming as Gareth Cross (100) and Steven Croft (101 not out) helped themselves to the kind of centuries that do nothing other than artificially inflate batting averages.

Hampshire’s attack looked weary and with this week’s trip to Northamptonshire on the agenda, Jimmy Adams did his best to shield his regular bowlers from pointless physical exertion.

That saw Adams himself trundle in for a few overs, although he politely declined to do his own impressions.

The only thing missing was Michael Bates turning his arm over with his pads on, while George Bailey chose not to sign off his short stint at the Ageas Bowl with a couple of bonus overs before he joins Australia’s ICC Champions Trophy squad.

Bailey also declined to talk to the press after the game, so it is anyone’s guess as to whether he enjoyed his spell or indeed if we’ll see him back again.