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Sales steady in predictable draw

David Sales hit an unbeaten 66 as second-placed Northamptonshire settled for a rain-affected draw in their LV= County Championship Division Two match with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Sales struck 11 boundaries to lead Northants to before both sides decided there was little point in continuing a lost cause.

After most of the morning session had been lost to rain, Hampshire resumed on 515 for nine, leading by 77 but with little hope of forcing only their third win of the season.

Last pair David Balcombe and James Tomlinson put on 30 for the last wicket, with Balcombe striking a six and four fours in his unbeaten 30.

The Hampshire innings finally ended when Tomlinson was caught in the slips by Stephen Peters to give Muhammad Azhar Ullah his third wicket of the innings.

Northamptonshire lost three batsmen before knocking off their 107-run deficit.

James Middlebrook departed early, caught at slip off Balcombe, before a second-wicket partnership of 87 between Stephen Peters and Sales steadied the ship.

Peters was eventually caught and bowled by Liam Dawson for 40 and Alex Wakely became a rare victim for Neil McKenzie three runs later.

Yet Sales, who faced 137 balls, and first-innings double-centurion Rob Keogh made sure there were no further alarms.

Even without rain the match was already heading for a draw after only 19 wickets fell over the opening three days on a placid, easy-paced wicket.