Hampshire edge south coast battle

England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight

Root: Hampshire talent will embrace Ashes debut

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Just when you wondered if the Hampshire batsmen had taken a mid-season break, the old stagers made a welcome return.

James Vince’s side rediscovered their winning habit at just the right time with a six-run success over local rivals Sussex to book their place in the Natwest T20 Blast quarter-finals.

Jimmy Adams

Jimmy Adams

In a pulsating game of cricket, Michael Carberry (87 not out) and Luke Wright (116 not out) were the stars of the show, with two exceptional knocks but it was Hampshire who just had the edge.

But another dreadful start to the innings, Hampshire fans were fearing the worst, following three batting horror shows from their previous four fixtures.

With Vince (two) out in the first over of the match and Glenn Maxwell (one), once again, failing to show anything like the form that made him the star of the Indian Premier League, the focus switched to Carberry and Jimmy Adams.

Thankfully, they delivered in style as Carberry, in particular, played the kind of knock that makes a mockery of England’s decision to jettison him from their plans.

His innings deserved to be a century with some imperious strokes in his 63-ball stay, which included five fours and five sixes.

One of those maximums was about as big as you will ever see at the Ageas Bowl as it sailed over the temporary seating that has been installed for the forthcoming Test match.

And it didn’t even look like he tried to hit it that hard.

While Carberry was the main man, Adams (52) and Sean Ervine (32 not out) also played their part in an innings that looked much more like the Hampshire of old.

Their total of 177 for three certainly looked more competitive than their recent run of low scores.

But as bad as Hampshire’s start was with the bat, it was nothing compared with their efforts with the ball as Sussex raced away.

At the heart of it was Wright, who hit a magnificent 116 not out, only to end up on the losing side.

The former England man, who has suffered a similar fate to Carberry from the selectors, plundered 13 fours and four sixes in his 66-ball innings and he so nearly won the game single-handedly for his team.

But once Chris Nash (28) was bowled by Danny Briggs (four for 28) to break a 69-run opening stand, it was all down to Wright as nobody else reached double figures for the visitors.

Needing 17 from the final over, Wright’s effort ended at the hands of Chris Wood, who kept his nerve to seal the win.

It was stirring stuff played out in a great atmosphere with 7,000 fans in to see the south coast derby.

Few will have gone home thinking they didn’t get value for money.