Jimmy Adams paid tribute to last-man standing Danny Briggs as Hampshire got out of jail to grab a draw from the jaws of almost certain defeat.
The last-wicket pair survived 125 deliveries over 71 minutes of the final day’s play of the Championship showdown with Kent at the Ageas Bowl.
Skipper Adams (85 not out) turned in a supreme effort to carry his bat for the whole second innings as he faced 255 balls in the rearguard action.
But Briggs, coming in at number 11 but looking every inch an assured batsman, ended on 20 not out from 57 balls as the draw was confirmed, with memories stirred of Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar’s last-ditch rearguard in the 2009 Ashes Test.
Adams said: ‘Briggsy is probably the calmest man around, anyway, but it’s amazing what you can do when the mind is focused.
‘There were a couple of times where it seemed like Dan was farming the strike himself! We both had moments where our brains went walkabout near the end.
‘I’m not sure Dan realised that it was the last ball of the over when he almost ran himself out at one point.
‘He did a great job. It was a super effort from him and he showed a lot of guts.
‘But I think we’re relieved more than anything. We’ve been outplayed over the four days but we have scrapped for a few points at the end.’
Kent were finally bowled out for 467 – a lead of 175 – in the first hour of day four but Hampshire were then in real trouble at 10 for three.
Adams, Liam Dawson (28) – who suffered a leg injury that required him to bat with a runner after lunch – and Sean Ervine (31) put on useful runs and took time out of the game but it seemed that Kent were going in for the kill when Hampshire lost three wickets in the space of five balls.
But Briggs joined Adams and, although the former Ventnor man survived with one spilled catch from wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, there were surprisingly few heart-in-the-mouth moments as the game ticked into its final few overs.
Adams said: ‘It’s easier when you know you have an end point. Suddenly it focuses the mind and all you are worrying about is watching the ball.
‘The new ball wasn’t as effective as they were hoping but we were pretty lucky in terms of the result.’