Jimmy Adams has warned his Hampshire team-mates: Don’t let our opportunity slip.
The Ageas Bowl skipper fears his side are in danger of letting the season drift towards its close.
Once again, he was the only player in the home side to shine with the bat as they toiled against Northamptonshire yesterday.
Adams made 73 on day three of the County Championship division two clash.
Resuming on 125 for two, Hampshire were bowled out for 276 – 80 runs behind on the first innings.
And with the visitors closing on 177 for five, the chances of a second home win of the campaign look decidedly slim ahead of the final day’s play.
After a lethargic display from both the batsmen and the bowlers, Hampshire simply do not look like a side pressing for promotion going into the final few weeks of the season.
And Adams has tasked his men with proving their worth by rescuing a game that appears to be slipping away.
He said: ‘We’ve got so much to play for over the rest of the year, that every game and every session is really important to us.
‘We can talk about promotion but we’ve got to show we are capable of that. Over the past few weeks, we have been a little bit off from where we want to be.
‘It should have been a wake-up call in the game against Kent but going into the last day in this one, we have got to make it count.
‘We have to realise that we have to up it for the rest of the year to push to where we want to be.
‘We’re still in the game going into the last day but we all know we need to pick up our performances.’
After failing to hammer home their advantage in the first ininngs with the ball, Hampshire then failed to match their opponents with the bat.
And barring a miraculous final day, Adams & Co will not secure a win they desperately need in their attempts to regain their place in the top flight next season.
But the skipper is keen to stay positive that his side can turn it around.
He said: ‘I think we have been behind the game so far in so many ways, it’s not too bad a position to be in.
‘I’m sure they will want a reasonable number of overs to have a go at us but if we can restrict them in the morning, hopefully we could have a chase.
‘We’ve been behind Northants with both bat and ball in this game so they are quite rightly in control.
‘And we would have to play very well to win this game from here.
‘To be honest, we have not been where we want to be in this game.
‘Once they got to 350, we had to match that to create a different sort of pressure. But we’re still in it.’
Tomorrow’s sell-out CB40 clash with Surrey (1.45pm) could also have some extra spice with the news that Kevin Pietersen could feature.
The former Hampshire batsman was dropped by England for the Lord’s Test match with South Africa but has reportedly been made available for selection for his county.
Surrey have suggested he will be named in the squad but Pietersen often found it hard to find his way to the Ageas Bowl during his Hampshire days, so whether he actually plays is open to question.