SHANE WARNE promised that life at Hampshire would be entertaining under his captaincy. And it proved to be the most tense of finishes at the Rose Bowl yesterday.

It seemed that Warne was destined to come in and score the winning runs after Durham threatened to spoil the Hampshire party yesterday.

But an unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 58 in 12 overs between Dimitri Mascarenhas and Will Kendall set up a memorable first win for Hampshire.

It rescued the county from a miserable position of 52-7 whic they slumped to after Nic Pothas was trapped leg before by Mark Davies for the second time in the match.

At that stage Durham were very much the favourites. Hampshire still needed 57 for victory and only had Warne and Alan Mullally to come after losing John Crawley and Michael Clarke for ducks.

Rain had delayed the start of play until 12pm but Hampshire, who were 13-2 when the action eventually resumed, lost John Crawley, who was forced to bat with Michael Brown as a runner because of a calf strain, shortly after Tremlett had departed.

Nightwatchmen Billy Taylor and Tremlett had begun well but the latter was bowled by one that kept low after a couple of powerful off-side boundaries.

Crawley did not look comfortable.

He edged Liam Plunkett to second slip where Gavin Hamilton was struck in the nether regions after the ball had dropped short, before he was pinned in front by a ball of fullish length.

Not to worry, Clarke was at the crease.

But the young Australian did not look as confident as he had done in the first innings.

He swapped one of his Slazeneger bats for another but it looked as though there was a hole in it as he lost his off stump to Plunkett just as the rain came down immediately afterwards.

Suddenly the pendulum had swung Durham's way.

Hampshire were without their two key batsmen and had an early lunch on 26-5 after wickets had falled all around Taylor.

Pothas managed some streaky boundaries but Mascarenhas, who scored at a run a ball, showed the positivity that was required - and Kendall batted like a man reborn.

Between them they were a revelation. Mascarenhas's square cutting knocked the stuffing out of Durham and Kendall showed the form that brought him 1,000-plus championship runs the last time Warne was at Hampshire four years ago

Davies and Plunkett were eventually taken out of the attack, having bowled unchanged until a Hanpshire win in their championship opener for the first time since 1992 looked inevitable.

West Indian Reon King and ex-England Test all-rounder Hamilton, bowling again after recovering from the 'yips', did not provide the same test as Davies and 19-year-old Plunkett.

Warne's reign is underway and his first vistory as skipper inspired a sing-song in the home dressing room.

But spare a thought for Durham. They had to travel north with a one point deduction for a slow over rate.