Wakely and Newton boost Northants
Alex Wakely and Rob Newton struck half-centuries as Northamptonshire cranked up the pressure on Hampshire at the end of the third day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match at the Ageas Bowl.
Newton struck a rapid 59 and Wakely was 61 not out at the close, with Northants 256 ahead at 176 for five in their second innings.
Only captain Jimmy Adams batted with any resolution when Hampshire began the second day on 125 for two in response to Northants’ first-innings 356.
Adams’ third-wicket partner Liam Dawson failed to add to his overnight 19 and James Vince continued his wretched first-class season when he was dismissed two overs later for four.
Paceman Luke Evans trapped both leg before and David Willey then reduced Hampshire to 176 for six by bowling Sean Ervine and winning an lbw appeal against Adams.
Adams faced 184 balls for his 73, an innings which included 13 fours, and resistance after his departure was only sporadic.
Evans came back to get rid of Chris Wood and Northants captain Andrew Hall polished off the Hampshire tail.
The South African had Michael Bates caught at second slip by David Sales for 28, Kabir Ali taken at the wicket for a breezy 31 and last man David Balcombe held by Willey.
That gave Northants a substantial first-innings lead of 80 on a wicket which continued to help the quicker bowlers.
Hall finished with 3-35 but for former Durham bowler Evans, the day was a personal triumph; he finished with career-best figures of 4-38.
Northants did not make the best of starts as they looked to build on their first-innings success, with Stephen Peters out in Kabir's first over and Niall O'Brien following to a catch at the wicket in the eighth.
When Sales fell to a catch by Vince in the slips off seamer Balcombe, Northamptonshire were 62 for three, only 143 ahead.
But then came a decisive stand of 99 in only 16 overs between Newton and Wakely as the Hampshire attack appeared to run out of ideas.
Newton hit Kabir for six and then did the same to successive deliveries from James Tomlinson, striking nine fours in a 46-ball innings that turned the match in Northants’ favour.
Tomlinson had Newton caught in the slips at 161 and Hall departed at the same score, only for Wakely and James Middlebrook to see their side through to stumps in an unbroken stand of 15.
Wakely has so far hit seven fours and second-placed Hampshire are struggling to save a match they expected to win.