Work to do for Warwickshire
Warwickshire were held up in their push for the LV= County Championship title as Hampshire maintained their slender hopes of survival on day two at the Rose Bowl.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul took his score on to 171 and all-rounder Chris Woakes added a breezy 62 as the Division One leaders, three points ahead of Lancashire heading into the final round of games, reached 493 in their first innings.
However, their progress was checked by an afternoon rain delay that saw 13 overs lost and Hampshire, who could yet avoid relegation after Worcestershire dramatically failed to reach 300 in their first innings at Durham, duly progressed to 57 without loss at stumps.
With nearest rivals Lancashire enjoying improved fortunes at Taunton today, Warwickshire will be aware that a draw may not be enough to secure their first championship crown since 2004.
Yet they seemingly face a stiff challenge to take 20 wickets on a pitch that has so far provided little assistance for the bowlers, apart from on a damp opening morning.
Hampshire, meanwhile, know that nothing less than maximum batting points will be enough if they are to have any chance of staying up at Worcestershire’s expense.
The visitors resumed this morning on 296 for three and were unable to muster the 54 they required from the day’s opening 14 overs in order to secure a fourth bonus point.
Jim Troughton brought up the 300 by cutting James Tomlinson through the covers for four in the second over of the day.
However, he failed to add to his score before chasing a wide delivery from Dimitri Mascarenhas and feathering an edge through to wicketkeeper Michael Bates, who kept superbly throughout the innings.
Chanderpaul briefly lifted the tempo with three fours in four balls, all through the square-leg region, off Tomlinson, but three successive maidens followed and Warwickshire were still 15 runs short of 350 at the end of the 110th over.
Chris Wood then accounted for Tim Ambrose, caught behind playing loosely off the back foot, and Rikki Clarke, who played on after striking two confident fours off the left-armer.
Yet Chanderpaul, who had earlier collected his third six off Danny Briggs with a marvellous slog-sweep, ploughed on remorsefully, and brought up his 150 by cutting Sean Ervine to the point fence in an over containing three fours.
With Woakes immediately settling in to his stride at the other end, Warwickshire reached lunch on 390 for six, only to then see heavy rain delay the start of the afternoon session by 80 minutes.
When play resumed, Chanderpaul swept Liam Dawson for four to bring up a half-century stand for the seventh wicket, before eventually falling to the left-arm spinner for 171.
Having used the pull shot to superb effect throughout his 294-ball stay at the crease, the West Indian missed an innocuous short ball and was adjudged lbw.
His departure left Warwickshire on 409 for seven, but Woakes and Chris Metters played confidently to add a further 64 prior to tea.
Woakes did survive a minor scare on 26 when a lofted drive off Dawson just looped over Ervine, running back from mid-off.
The 22-year-old was largely untroubled, however, and struck five fours en route to an attractive fifty, which arrived in 87 deliveries.
Metters also appeared in good touch and twice drove Dawson down the ground for four before passing his previous first-class best of 27.
Hampshire’s spirits appeared to be sapping, yet they rallied by claiming the final three Warwickshire wickets in quick succession.
Woakes, who had reached 62, was superbly caught by Jimmy Adams after advancing down the track to Briggs and driving aerially through the off side; Chris Wright was run out off the next ball coming back for a second and Metters perished for 30 when he skied Wood to cover.
Wood finished with figures of 3-87, while the economical Mascarenhas returned 3-52 from 34 overs.
Hampshire’s openers started confidently in the evening sunshine, the left-handed Adams prospering off the back foot and Dawson unfurling a number of elegant drives.
By the close, they had reached 22 and 31 respectively and will aim to pile further pressure on Warwickshire tomorrow.