Jimmy Adams led a resolute Hampshire fightback on the third day of their County Championship match with Somerset at Taunton.
Having conceded a first innings lead of 390 when the hosts extended their score to 630 for nine declared in the morning session, the visitors closed on 258 for one – with Adams unbeaten on 117, having faced 245 balls and hitting 16 fours.
Michael Carberry (56) and James Vince (69 not out) also made important contributions, while Somerset’s push for a crucial victory in the first division survival battle was not helped by two dropped slip catches.
By stumps, Hampshire trailed by just 132, and while the second new ball will be available at the start of play tomorrow, they have a realistic chance of escaping with a draw on a flat pitch.
The hosts began day three on 569 for five and added 61 in 7.5 overs – Jim Allenby making 56 and bowler Liam Dawson finishing with five for 139 from 34.5 overs.
If scoreboard pressure counted for anything, Hampshire faced a huge task.
But Adams and Carberry set about it in determined fashion, putting on 143 for the first wicket and not being parted until the 50th over.
Carberry was dropped on 37 by Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick at second slip off Jamie Overton.
He eventually fell lbw trying to work a delivery from left-arm spinner Jack Leach through the leg side.
Adams had reached a 74-ball half-century and was unbeaten on 77 at tea, which was taken with Hampshire 151 for one.
Another key moment occurred with the score on 205, when Adams was spilled on 94 at first slip by Allenby – again off Overton.
It was the sort of error Somerset could not afford on a typical Taunton track.
Adams went on to reach three figures off 199 balls.
And with Vince settling in to reach a chanceless half-century off 83 deliveries, belief was growing in the visiting dressing room.
Trescothick elected not to take the new ball in the closing stages of the day, wanting his bowlers to be fresh to use it tomorrow.
But history suggests Somerset could now face a tough task to bowl out opponents also firmly intent on division one survival.
By stumps, Adams had batted for five hours and 10 minutes, with his stand with Vince adding 115 runs.
For Hampshire, a draw would feel like a win, having been heavily outplayed for the first two days.