Adam Wheater praised his Hampshire team-mates after they denied hosts Essex a sizeable first-innings lead on day three of their Championship division two clash.
Resuming play on 70 for one – after the visitors were bowled out for 246 – a century third-wicket partnership involving Ravi Bopara and Jesse Ryder had provided a foundation for a notable advantage as they carried the Essex total to 187.
But when New Zealander Ryder (69) was bowled by left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, the door was opened for Hampshire to make steady inroads into the innings.
In fact, Essex were only able to add another 98 runs to their total as the wickets tumbled around them, with Bopara going for 79 following an lbw off the bowling of James Tomlinson (two for 29).
Nathan Rimmington (two for 51), Liam Dawson and Briggs also chipped in to leave Essex on 259 with an hour’s play remaining.
And that gave Hampshire enough time to quickly dispose of Essex’s 39-run advantage and impress Wheater even more as they closed the day with a lead of 44, with Michael Carberry leading the way on 48 not out.
‘I think the first session today could be vital for either side,’ said Wheater.
‘Our guys stuck to their guns well and the way that Michael Carberry played when we had to start our second innings with almost an hour to bat was exceptional.’
Captain Jimmy Adams was the only wicket to fall for Hampshire as they closed the day on 83 for one.
He was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate off the bowling of Tim Phillips for 18, with the score on 39.
Will Smith remains at the crease on 13.