Crucial clash set for dramatic conclusion

Chris Wood bowls against Worcestershire Picture: Neil Marshall
Chris Wood bowls against Worcestershire Picture: Neil Marshall
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Hampshire’s Championship clash is heading for an exciting final day after a full-blooded tussle with Worcestershire on day three.

With the visitors resuming the relegation showdown on 112 for one, Chris Wood (four for 35) and Imran Tahir (five for 29) ensured Hampshire conceded a lead of just 25 at the halfway stage.

But with Dominic Cork’s side eager to post a challenging target, wickets again fell at regular intervals to reduce Hampshire to 53 for five.

A disciplined partnership between Nic Pothas (16) and Dimi Mascarenhas (13 not out) steadied the ship but Hampshire closed the day on 84 for six – a lead of just 59 with four wickets in hand.

The onus will now be on Mascarenhas – who appeared to be suffering from his bowling efforts as he hobbled between the wickets – and Wood (five not out).

Wood believes even a small target will still make life difficult for Worcestershire, whose batting looked as shaky as Hampshire’s apart from Vikram Solanki, who hit an unbeaten 79.

Wood said: ‘The game is right in the balance and we just have to hope the weather stays away.

‘The pitch is deteriorating but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad wicket to bat on at all.

‘If we can get another 100 runs or so, we would be in with a good chance.

‘Even if we get a lead of around 100-150, we saw Imran Tahir spinning the ball both ways and it would give us a good chance of winning.’