Dale Benkenstein believes Hampshire’s hopes of claiming a victory are over – but warned they could still suffer defeat.
The Hampshire first-team coach saw Middlesex reach 362 all out on day three of their Championship clash and with just a 55-run lead for the home side, it’s almost impossible for them to force a win.
But even though the draw looks the most likely result by a distance, if the Ageas Bowl outfit have a bad day with the bat, things could yet go badly wrong.
Benkenstein said: ‘With a lead of over 100, we could have looked at winning the game.
‘But now, it’s about making sure we have a good first session because they now have a chance of winning the game.
‘That’s the difference between getting that last wicket early and the partnership that they made.
‘They got too many. At 287 for nine, we had worked really hard and to keep them below 300 would have been a good result.’
Benkenstein also felt his attack failed to make things hard enough for the Middlesex last wicket partnership, which was allowed to add 75 runs.
It didn’t help the cause that West Indies bowler Fidel Edwards had to leave the field with a shoulder injury, which means he will play no further par in this game and is also a doubt for Friday’s Natwest T20 Blast clash with Kent.
Benkenstein said: ‘I think we lost a bit of energy and with Fidel going off, we needed someone else to put their hand up and make it uncomfortable for the last two batters.
‘He has got a bit of pain behind the shoulder.
‘He’s had that problem before but he said it isn’t as bad as he has had before.
‘We need to get it checked out. It’s a big concern because he has been bowling really well.
‘He won’t bowl again in this game.’