Steven Mullaney questions quality of pitch after Notts are beaten at Hampshire

Liam Dawson spun Hampshire to the top of the LV = County Championship with one final round of fixtures to play after leaders Nottinghamshire capitulated after tea on a dramatic third day at the Ageas Bowl to sink to a 122-run defeat.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 8:00 am
Steven Mullaney described Hampshire's pitch as unacceptable following Nottinghamshire's defeat. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

It left Notts captain Steven Mullaney believing the pitch had been sub-standard for the needs of a First-Class match.

"I don't think we can fault any effort from the lads,” he said. “I thought at the toss they got it right, but a couple of decisions didn't go our way, if I am honest it wasn't a great pitch, personally I thought it was unacceptable for a First Class game.

"We knew it was going to be a result pitch and Hampshire got it. But we are still in with a chance of winning the County Championship.

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"If we look at it in isolation, we dropped five catches in their first innings and didn't bowl great in the second half of their first innings. But ultimately we weren't good enough and Hampshire deserved the win."

Chasing 250 for victory, the visitors started well but lost nine wickets after the interval for 81 runs as Dawson finished with 5-45 and Felix Organ 3-22 after Mohammad Abbas had taken the crucial wicket of Ben Duckett for 33.After bowling out the hosts for 178 following a delayed start, the visitors were 46-1 at tea only to be bundled out for 127 on a dramatic day in Southampton.

The win leave Hampshire in position to seal a first County title since 1973 when they play Lancashire at Liverpool starting next Tuesday.Hampshire added 45 for their final three wickets to add to their overnight score, after play was delayed until 1pm due to heavy morning rain.

Impressive young all-rounder Liam Patterson-White followed up his first-innings 50 by mopping up the tail to claim his second career five-wicket haul, dismissing Keith Barker for 29, Brad Wheal for three and James Fuller for 21 as Hampshire were dismissed for 226.Openers Haseeb Hameed and Ben Slater got Notts off to a solid start after surviving a testing hour before tea from Barker and Abbas.

The pair survived 40 minutes of the new ball before Abbas got the breakthrough when Organ took a superb diving catch to pouch a bat-pad opportunity off the England opener and send him on his way for eight.

Duckett played the spinners well, sweeping Dawson and Organ with great success, but with tensions beginning to rise in the middle and words being exchanged between the England international and the Pakistan quick, umpire Martin Saggers was forced to step in between the pair.

But Duckett's barbs evidently only seemed to fire-up Abbas, and to his great delight, Saggers' finger went up shortly after his intervention when a ball thumped the left-hander on the pad when it appeared to be drifting down the leg-side.

Dawson, re-introduced into the attack following the dismissal of Duckett, vindicated the faith of skipper James Vince, when he had Slater prodding around off-stump and the ball ballooned off his bat and was plucked out of the air by Nick Gubbins at short-leg, reducing Notts to 72-3.

Following Slater's dismissal a procession of batsman came and went with only teenager Joey Evison reaching double figures as the leaders slumped to a dispiriting defeat to drop to third spot on the table with Dawson taking his first five-wicket haul since 2015.