IT’S a must-win County Championship match for Hampshire but their prospects already look bleak.
At the halfway stage, it’s fair to suggest that the home win has already been effectively struck off the list of possible results.
With Yorkshire amassing 532 all out from their first innings it will take something extraordinary for the Rose Bowl outfit to boost their quest to stay in the top flight.
The draw looks the most likely outcome with some rain forecast for today and Hampshire reaching stumps at 116 for two in their first innings – 416 runs behind.
Of course, the visitors will have other ideas and an incorrect weather forecast coupled with a few quick wickets will present a chance to enforce the follow-on to stack the odds of victory in their favour.
But Michael Carberry (37 not out) and Neil McKenzie (30 not out) will be under no illusions as to how important it is that they stick around.
With the ball, Imran Tahir (six for 132) showed plenty of patience, on a pitch that offered precious little turn, to pick up his haul as Yorkshire went way beyond 500.
Resuming on 318 for three, Anthony McGrath, who was on 65 overnight, went on to reach three figures with ease as he eventually departed for 115.
Gerard Brophy (53) became the fifth player in the Yorkshire side to go past 50, as even the innings extras hit the same figure on a day that did little to promote Championship cricket as a thrilling spectator sport.
But it’s hard to blame the teams or even the groundsman.
If you make it too exciting you get the ECB pitch panel on your case.
In reply, Liam Dawson (13) and Jimmy Adams (29) departed to set the alarm bells ringing at 59 for two.
But Carberry and McKenzie put on 57 runs for the third wicket to steady the ship and will need to add plenty more to that tally today.