Dale Benkenstein has challenged Hampshire to show some fight as they battle to rescue the County Championship clash with Durham at the Ageas Bowl.
The first-team coach looked on as the hosts allowed their rivals to post a commanding first-innings total of 421 yesterday.
He was buoyed by the partnership of 51 runs between Michael Carberry (57 not out) and Will Smith (27 not out), though.
The duo had steered Hampshire to 119 for three when rain curtailed day two of the division one encounter.
And Benkenstein is now hoping to see those battling qualities to the fore again tomorrow as his side desperately fight to avoid defeat.
The former Durham batsman said: ‘We are on the back foot – that was a huge score.
‘The only good thing is that it did look a lot easier when the ball got older.
‘With the new ball it was quite tough.
‘We’re going to have to bat well now but I was really pleased with that last partnership – which is something we haven’t seen in the past few games.
‘Even though it is only just over 50, they look like it was under control and there was some fight there.
‘We’re going to have to show some more of that in the next two days.’
Benkenstein did not expect Hampshire to find it easy to knock over his former club’s tail yesterday.
And so it proved as Gordon Muchall was a thorn in their side with 145.
The Hampshire chief pointed to a raft of missed opportunities in the field as a key factor in letting the visitors get away.
The home side’s reply then suffered a couple of early blows as Jimmy Adams’ struggles with the bat continued and Liam Dawson miscued a drive to mid-off.
But Benkenstein is confident, with a bit of application – which has been missing from the batting line-up in recent matches – Hampshire can find a way back into the match and even apply a bit of pressure on Durham.
The first-team coach said: ‘I thought it would be really tough (to bowl them out).
‘We let them get away with a few chances and at this level you can’t give a team of that calibre four chances.
‘I thought we batted well up front yesterday.
‘Jimmy got a decent ball and Daws’ shot was a bit of a mistake but the ball stopped on the pitch, so he was a little bit unlucky.
‘We have to soldier on but this is happening quite often so you can’t call it a bad day, unfortunately this is where we are.
‘I do believe with our batting we can perform better than we have.
‘And if we can just show some of that commitment and skill throughout today, then we will be in a better position.’