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The Electronic Telegraph Hampshire v Lancashire, National League First Division Round 13
Julian Guyer- 25 July 1999

Atherton hits 95 on debut

Lancs (214-6) bt Hants (210-7) by 4 wkts

A superbly-paced 95 not out from Michael Atherton in his first National League innings steered Lancashire to victory with four balls to spare.

Atherton's innings lasted 127 balls and contained only six fours, a testament to his ability to nudge the single and his excellent running between the wickets. He shared partnerships of 81 in 20 overs with John Crawley and 50 in eight overs with Graham Lloyd.

But in between Lancashire suffered two nervy spells. Cruising at 127 for two, they lost three wickets for 11 runs. Then, after Lloyd had holed out, Warren Hegg went cheaply to give Hampshire hope of an improbable victory.

Hampshire's total was due largely to an extraordinary innings of 96 from John Stephenson. When he came to the wicket Hampshire were 37 for four off 15 overs, after some tight bowling allied to some soft dismissals.

Stephenson swatted Muttiah Muralitharan's first delivery for four. The next was struck more convincingly for six and the third went high and straight out of the ground, the first of three replacement balls being called for.

Apart from one reverse sweep off Muralitharan for four, Stephenson then went into his shell. But in the 35th over he again smashed the Sri Lankan off-spinner for two enormous sixes.

Andrew Flintoff suffered similar treatment before he bowled Stephenson, as the batsman tried to reach his century in the grand manner.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk