Sean Ervine fell just seven runs short of Hampshire’s first century of the campaign after a mixed third day of the Championship clash with Worcestershire.
The Zimbabwean all-rounder top-scored with his 116-ball knock – which included 10 fours and two sixes – as Hampshire were bowled out for 263 in a game that looks almost certain to end in a draw.
After just 45 minutes of action in the first two days and the second day abandoned without a ball being bowled, there was little chance of a positive result – with neither side likely to contrive a match in the opening fixture of the season.
Resuming on 37 for three yesterday, skipper Jimmy Adams continued in a similar vein to add to his brisk 32 not out.
He eased to 67, before clipping a low drive to short mid-wicket, although he was given an extra life when he was dropped on 40.
It marked the end of a solid 64-run partnership with debutant Will Smith (29), who was one of three quick wickets to fall, as Joe Gatting marked his Hampshire bow with a golden duck to leave the home side tottering at 105 for six.
But it brought Adam Wheater (35) to the crease, and he and Ervine looked largely untroubled as they put on 93 for the seventh wicket – until the wicketkeeper departed to a soft dismissal by picking out Alexei Kervezee as he tried to pull.
David Balcombe (23) made a useful contribution as Ervine opted to throw the bat as he ran out of partners – crunching two mighty maximums in the process, before he nicked behind as he closed in on three figures.
In reply, Worcestershire’s opening pair put on 47, before Matt Coles removed Matt Pardoe.
But the bowlers were unable to make further inroads as Daryl Mitchell (44 not out) and Moeen Ali (27 not out) enjoyed an unbroken 56-run stand as the visitors reached the close on 103 for one.