Mascarenhas back but Hampshire slump continues at Durham

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

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Dimi Mascarenhas admits it is a bonus to be back playing for Hampshire again, despite seeing his return overshdowed by a heavy defeat.

The former Hampshire skipper has been out of the game for nearly a year with an Achilles injury.

He had been pencilled in to return for the t20, which starts next month.

But after making impressive strides in his comeback, manager Giles White took the opportunity to restore him to the side for yesterday’s seven-wicket loss at Durham in the CB40.

And while he was disappointed with the result, Mascarenhas was delighted to be back on the pitch again.

He said: ‘I wasn’t expecting to be playing now so it’s a bonus.

‘I was looking to come back in the t20 but now I’ve played in this one and I would hope to have a chance for the next few games.

‘We will wait and see but it’s good to be back playing again.

‘I was definitely nervous to start with – I haven’t played for a year.

‘It was weird because I bowled a terrible first couple of overs but I got a lucky wicket. Macca (Neil McKenzie) took an amazing catch at slip.

‘But once I started to hit my lines and lengths, I felt I was getting into it again.

‘When I was batting I felt nervous as well.

‘I told Phil Mustard I was still nervous after a couple of balls and it was disappointing to get out when I did.

‘But I’m glad to be back playing again.’

While Mascarenhas shone with the ball after feeling his way back into first-team cricket to take three for 24 from his eight overs, there was precious little else for Hampshire to celebrate.

But Benny Howell (66) and Liam Dawson (38) stood out in an otherwise limp batting display where nobody else reached double figues.

Mascarenhas said: ‘We didn’t get enough runs.

‘It was tough up front, we lost some early wickets but we just couldn’t get a big partnership together, which is what you need in one-day cricket.

‘Benny and Daws played really well and we were in a decent position going into the powerplay but that’s how they go sometimes – if you lose a few wickets, the game is over.

‘After we lost a few, we thought 180 might be a good score, but I was thinking 190-200 if me and Benny could have batted for four or five overs.

‘But it wasn’t to be.’

The return of their talismanic all-rounder is a welcome boost for a Hampshire side who only narrowly avoided defeat in the Championship clash at Yorkshire and look decidedly out of sorts at present.

With Imran Tahir and Michael Lumb both due to return in the next fortnight, it could be a vital injection to help drag them out of their early-season slump.