TWO wickets in the last hour of play allowed Hampshire to set up an intriguing final day’s play against Glamorgan at the Ageas Bowl.
Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams made 72 from 157 deliveries, including 11 boundaries, as the home side added 248 to their overnight score to set the Welsh county a target of 263.
Kabir Ali and James Tomlinson then removed Nick James and Will Bragg respectively, to leave Glamorgan requiring a further 210 for victory and the chance to record their first win in the LV= County Championship this season.
The home side began the day on 25 for no loss but soon gave up their first wicket, with the score on 31, with Liam Dawson edging Will Owen to wicketkeeper Mark Wallace.
For the rest of the morning session Matthew Mott’s men toiled in sultry conditions only for Adams and Michael Carberry to add 71 for the second wicket.
The stand was finally broken when Carberry was superbly caught by Owen at fine leg off Jim Allenby (three for 58). Adams remained a constant though and brought up his half-century, the 42nd of the left-handers career, shortly before the interval with a wonderful cover drive.
But Wallace’s team continued to chip away at their opponents into the afternoon with a disciplined bowling display that saw youngster John Glover (three for 49) pick up the wicket of Simon Katich, for 12, and then bowl Adams for 72.
At 141 for four, Glamorgan sensed an opportunity to chase a small total but were thwarted by a defiant stand of 49 for the fifth wicket between Sean Ervine (22) and James Vince (48).
Yet just as the home side looked to grind the bowling attack into the ground, a horrible mix-up between the batsmen saw Ervine run out. The dismissal sparked a collapse with Hampshire losing four wickets for 35 runs. Michael Bates followed Ervine back to the pavilion after being bowled by Mike Reed for a second-ball duck. Allenby then accounted for Chris Wood and Vince.
Again, however, Hampshire fought back with Ali and David Balcombe sharing a partnership of 44 for the ninth wicket.
Glover returned to pick up his seventh wicket of the match by bowling Ali before Owen dismissed Balcombe two overs later to end the Hampshire innings.
Clearly the ninth-wicket partnership gave the home side momentum as Glamorgan were soon on the back-foot, with James edging the fourth ball of the innings to Adams at slip.
Five overs later Bragg repeated the trick, off Tomlinson, finding the hands of Dawson in the cordon.
But a counter-attacking Marcus North, who ended the day unbeaten on 22, plundered four boundaries in the closing stages to leave the game on tenterhooks.