Hampshire are ready to dig deep and make the most of their winning position, according to Sean Ervine.
The Zimbabwean all-rounder struck a fine 102 for his side to dig them out of trouble and set Warwickshire a stiff target on day four of an excellent Championship division one clash at Edgbaston.
Whenever we got into a sticky situation, we managed to pull ourselves out of it somehowSean Ervine
The home side need 379 for victory on the final day and will resume on 47 without loss after Hampshire were dismissed for 339 in their second innings.
It will be no easy feat for Hampshire as they chase the 10 wickets they require to register their first success of the new season.
But the 32-year-old believes the Ageas Bowl outfit showed last season that they all have the ability to stand up and be counted when it is needed.
And he expects more of the same from himself and his team-mates.
Ervine said: ‘We learned last year that it’s about being on it for every, single session.
‘If you lose a session, you can lose a game because of that in division one.
‘So when there is a moment, you have to take it.
‘The consistency was there for us last season.
‘We had good firepower with the bowlers and people scored hundreds.
‘Whenever we got into a sticky situation, we managed to pull ourselves out of it somehow.
‘We kept hammering away the whole time and Dale Benkenstein played a big part in that.
‘He knows how to win Championship games and trophies.
‘He kept everyone calm in tough situations.
He is quite a relaxed guy anyway but that definitely helped the group and hopefully that will be the case again.’
Ervine’s power and experience lower down the order has become a vital weapon for Hampshire in his 11-year stint at the club.
And he showed his worth again with a crucial partnership with Michael Carberry.
As is often the case in cricket, the best form of defence is attack, and the positive left-handed duo provided support for that theory – particularly after lunch.
The pair salvaged an innings which was ailing at 108 for five and key to the recovery was an aggressive approach to Warwickshire’s spinner Jeetan Patel.
Ervine said: ‘There was no rough for the spinner to bowl to for us left-handers so we tried to take advantage of that and push the fielders back so we could manouevre the ball round a bit.
‘Most of the time I just try to play positively and it worked well for me.
‘It was a good day for us.
‘We had a tough morning but then recovered well.’
The long-serving Hampshire star did admit he’d had a few familiar thoughts as he strode out to bat.
‘We recovered well and that partnership between myself and Carbs did us well,’ said Ervine.
‘But when I went out to bat I was thinking “here we go again”.
‘We have put ourselves in a position where we could win the game or get a good draw.
‘It is going to be a good contest.
‘The wicket is still playing reasonably well but there is a bit of variable bounce there.
‘Also we have got a lot of swing-bowlers in the team and I believe the weather forecast is for it to be overcast so we could get some help there.
‘Hopefully, it swings all day for us.’