Leicestershire close on surprise win
Leicestershire snapped up four late wickets to edge towards an unexpected victory against Hampshire at the end of day three in their LV= County Championship Division Two game at Grace Road.
They set promotion-chasing Hampshire a target of 441 to win, and then left them reeling on 77 for four by stumps.
Home skipper Matthew Hoggard took 2-24 in 11 overs and Wayne White and Alex Wyatt picked up a wicket apiece as Hampshire's top order crumbled.
Leicestershire declared on 265 for eight, leaving Hampshire with 132 overs in which to chase the unlikely target.
However, the four wickets in the evening session put bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire in with a real chance of clinching their second win of the season.
Starting the day on 68 for two, Leicestershire's objective was to add as many runs as possible to their healthy overnight lead of 243 and give themselves enough time to bowl out Hampshire for a second time.
They achieved the first part with little fuss, scoring 197 runs in just under 60 overs for the loss of six wickets.
Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ned Eckersley made a confident start to the day, taking their third-wicket partnership to 86.
Then both were dismissed in successive overs from Sean Ervine. The Zimbabwe-born seamer bowled Eckersley for 39 with a ball that nipped back before uprooting Sarwan's off stump as the West Indian batsman failed to connect with an expansive off drive. Sarwan had made 46 and hit seven fours.
The rest of the Leicestershire innings saw useful contributions from all the batsmen without anyone managing to reach a half-century.
Josh Cobb hit 42, with seven fours, but then chipped a return catch to Liam Dawson, and Shiv Thakor scored an impressive 45. He fell gloving a catch behind, trying to pull a short ball from Kabir Ali.
White injected some momentum into the innings with an unbeaten 35, which included a towering six off Dawson. When the left-arm spinner dismissed Nathan Buck to claim his second wicket just before tea, the declaration came. Ervine finished with 3-37 off 20 overs.
It meant Hampshire were left with four sessions to go for victory or survive, but they made a poor start by losing three wickets for 42 runs in 18 overs.
Hoggard had Michael Carberry caught at short midwicket, White knocked back Neil McKenzie's leg stump and Simon Katich edged behind off Wyatt.
However, they suffered an even bigger blow when captain Jimmy Adams was caught behind off Hoggard shortly before the close, after grinding it out for two hours and scoring 22.