Dale Benkenstein has hinted that Hampshire may not enforce the follow-on, to give Danny Briggs an opportunity to run riot in the fourth innings of their Championship clash with Derbyshire.
The slow left-armer picked up four wickets for just 29 runs as the visitors were reduced to 166 for seven in reply to Hampshire’s 388 all out as Jimmy Adams’ side took command.
With Derbyshire still 222 runs behind, they need another 73 runs with just three wickets remaining to go beyond the 150-run deficit, which could see them asked to bat again.
But Benkenstein believes Briggs could profit even more handsomely if Hampshire set the fourth-innings target to chase.
The Hampshire coach said: ‘We will have to see what happens and they still have some decent players to come in.
‘I would think for them to bat last would be ideal, rather than making them follow on.
‘The wicket has got some nice rough on either side and by day four, it could be pretty tricky to bat on it.
‘I thought we did really well with the bat on day one when the wicket was quite lively.
‘We would have liked to have had a bowl.
‘But it has changed, it’s got a little bit drier and started to turn a little bit.
‘If we can have a decent total for them to have to bat last, it might be quite tricky.’
Briggs certainly got some help from the pitch with the odd delivery spitting up from nowhere.
But a few words of advice from Benkenstein and former England all-rounder Ian Blackwell have seen him rediscover some of his old aggression and threat in the four-day game.
Benkenstein said: ‘Danny bowled really well and he is complementing the other bowlers.
‘He has shown he can make a contribution in any innings.
‘It makes a huge difference when you’ve got a good spinner.
‘We try to keep it quite simple and the club got Ian Blackwell in to chat to him and Liam Dawson.
‘He is recently out of the game but has played t20, one-day, four-day and international cricket.
‘He has had a very successful record and I have played with him so I know he keeps things quite simple.
‘He has helped them quite a lot and they have enjoyed having someone who has been there at the coalface, rather than a stupid batsman. That has maybe made a difference.
‘Maybe it is a bit clearer.’
One key difference that Benkenstein has been keen to address is to get the spinners to bowl more quickly and that has paid off.
He explained: ‘His strength is to bowl a bit quicker and it’s the same for Liam Dawson.
‘In four-day cricket and in pre-season games, they were bowling pretty slowly and getting hit off the front foot and back foot.
‘We have just tried to keep four-day cricket and one-day cricket the same.
‘If you bowl 10 overs for 20 runs, you are doing a great job - don’t worry about the wickets.
‘It’s not about throwing it up and trying to buy wickets.’
Benkenstein added: ‘To be honest, Briggsy probably wouldn’t have played if Liam hadn’t got injured.
‘He wouldn’t have come in at this early stage. But to his credit, he has come in and made a big difference.
‘He has taken his chance well.’