LV County Championship, Division One: Hampshire 444 (M A Carberry 127, J H K Adams 80, M J Lumb 63) & 376-2 dec (M A Carberry 120, M J Brown 88, J H K Adams 82 no, J P Crawley 75 no) v Worcestershire 289 (S M Davies 84, Abdul Razzaq 78, J A Tomlinson 5-78) & 237 (M M Ali 77, S K Warne 5-68)
Shane Warne put in a highly productive two hours' effort as he wrapped up affairs at Chester Road.
He spent 91 minutes bowling unchanged, as well as taking the one catch he was offered, to be responsible for all the five wickets it took to confirm title-chasing Hampshire's fifth victory of the season in Division One of the County Championship.
Then he satisfied his legion of fans by leading them across the outfield like the Pied Piper before dumping his bag on the team coach and signing every autograph book and private photo collection that was stuck under his nose.
He even had time to satisfy the growing body of people that thinks cricket should be back here at Kidderminster next summer. It is a question yet to be decided by Worcestershire.
The very least that Kidderminster Victoria Cricket Club should be rewarded with — after five years without a scheduled fixture and after baling out Worcestershire at such short notice — is a County Championship match in 2008.
Such is the need to make ends meet after this summer's flood-related potential #650,000 loss that Worcestershire are understandably reluctant to allow an 'out ground' to be used when they could make more money at their main ground, New Road. But, after the way the red carpet has been laid out for his team this week, Warne is already a big fan of the place.
"It's a nice little ground," he said. "And the wicket was excellent. There was something in it for the quicks, something for the batsmen once you got in as we showed by hitting 370-odd runs in under two sessions. And it was turning late on in the game as a good wicket should do. I'd happily play here again."
Although he remains sympathetic to Worcestershire's plight, given that the two counties remain rivals for the Pro40 title, that's the extent of the Hampshire skipper's words of solace.
"It's never easy when you're already relegated," said Warne, after masterminding the second of two thumping defeats over Worcestershire inside a month following the 285-run win at The Rose Bowl. "It's tough for any club to go thought that. And they do now at least have the chance to win the Pro40 and I wish them all the best. But hopefully we can win on Sunday to put some pressure on them."
Ben Smith was unable to bat yesterday and any faint hopes Worcestershire nurtured of scoring a Championship record 532 to win lasted fewer than ten minutes.
To the first ball of the third over of the day, bowled by Warne, Abdul Razzaq stuck his head in the air, his foot down the pitch and tried to launch the world's greatest bowler somewhere in the direction of Chaddesley Corbett. He lost his middle stump and the home side lost hope.
Warne ended Moeen Ali's attempt to score a maiden first-class century with a neat bat-pad catch taken by Michael Brown. Even though it was James Bruce who took the next wicket, it was hard to keep the irrepressible Australian out of the picture. Gareth Batty hung his bat out to dry and Warne took a fine catch, low to his right at second slip.
When Warne trapped Ray Price leg-before — 194 for eight — it looked as if it would be all over inside an hour. But last pair Roger Sillence and Nadeem Malik had other ideas.
Sillence hit three fours and a straight six off Shaun Udal in his 36 and was given good support by Malik, who struck four fours, the majority of them off Warne, as he passed his season's best for the second time in the match.
Sillence buckled first. In the over after having Sillence missed low at first slip, Warne found an identical edge and Jimmy Adams ended the match. It was the 67th five-wicket haul by a 37-year-old who was nursing a rib injury going into the match and wasn't sure whether he ought to bowl!