Dimi Mascarenhas was the star of the show for Hampshire as they claimed an extraordinary Championship success over Durham to breathe new life into their bid to escape relegation.
With rain affecting the first three days of the contest at Durham and both sides needing the win at either end of the table, the two sides agreed to forfeit one innings each and set up a run-chase for the home side.
But Durham didn’t bargain for Mascarenhas’ fine spell of bowling as the former skipper grabbed six wickets for 62 as the home side crumbled to 225 all out in reply to Hampshire’s 275 for seven declared.
And jubilant Mascarenhas believes Hampshire can still claw their way out of trouble after finally sealing their first Championship win of the season.
He said: ‘It’s been a long time coming.
‘But it’s great for the lads. We’ve had two days of rain and played some pretty good cricket.
‘But it was good of Durham that they wanted to set up a game as well.
‘It’s huge. We’ve got five games to go and you never say never in this game. Anything can happen.
‘We’ve got to win against some of the top teams but we just have to wait and see.
‘You’ve got to believe that every time you go out there, you’re going to win.’
Michael Bates hit an unbeaten 58 – his career best in first-class cricket – in Hampshire’s total.
Phil Mustard (56) and Callum Thorp (43) gave Durham hope but Mascarenhas, playing only his third Championship game in two years after a career-threatening Achilles injury, exploited the moist conditions and took three wickets for 11 from his first eight overs.
Kabir Ali (three for 69) also picked up some vital wickets in the helpful conditions.
Thorp departed as he gloved an Ali delivery to Bates and when Mustard became Mascarenhas’ fifth victim, Hampshire knew they had victory in their grasp.
Mascarenhas said: ‘It turned out to be a pretty good game of cricket.
‘We got a few wickets early, kept the pressure on and it was nice to get a win.
‘It was a good target and if a couple of their top-order guys had got in, it could have been really tight.
‘Luckily we got a few early wickets and it went our way.’
The former England all-rounder showed his worth to the side as he exploited the Chester-le-Street pitch and shrugged off his recovery from injury.
He said: ‘It was nice. It was a decent wicket to bowl on, for me personally.
‘There was always a little bit in it for seam movement.
‘I just tried to stick it in the right areas, I got a few early and a few at the end so it was a good day.
‘I always feel it now. I’m not 21 any more, that’s for sure.
‘But you get a wicket and all the aches and pains seem to go away.’