Jimmy Adams was good to his word as he dug in to provide the backbone to Hampshire’s innings as they started their fightback against Northamptonshire.
The skipper, who has been short of runs in the Championship this term, hit an unbeaten half-century as the home side closed day two on 160 for two – still 278 runs behind their opponents’ mighty total of 438.
Adams spoke of his need for runs to stem a poor spell of form ahead of the game, having failed to make a half century in division two since June – a run of 11 innings.
But after Rob Keoogh’s fabulous 221 put his side in a commanding position, Hampshire needed a response and the captain led the way.
Resuming their innings on 323 for six, Keogh made easy progress from his overnight 158 to his double century, although he did benefit from a rare dropped catch from Adams in the first hour.
Matt Spriegel (76) became James Tomlinson’s third wicket, thanks to a brilliant catch from Michael Bates.
Keogh stuck around until he was the last man out, offering a caught and bowled chance to Liam Dawson.
It was a fine knock from Keogh, 21, who had previously not even made a 50 in first class cricket.
He hit 32 fours in his 383 balls.
Bates took six catches as the Northants innings was finally wrapped up.
In reply, Hampshire made a patient start until Michael Roberts (8) saw his stumps destroyed by Steven Crook to leave the home side in trouble at 36 for one.
But Adams (71 not out) and Dawson (46) shared a 97-run stand.
They made the most of another Ageas Bowl pitch that offered plenty of encouragement to the batsmen but precious little to the bowlers.
If Hampshire bat as they should on day three, it seems the game will end in another draw.
Even with a revamped bowling attack, including new signings Ruel Brathwaite (three for 112) and Matt Coles (two for 53), the old problems of struggling to bowl sides out on their home pitch reared their head again.
Tomlinson (two for 67) and David Balcombe (two for 103) did their best but couldn’t change that.