Hampshire are staring relegation in the face after being humbled by fellow strugglers Surrey at the Ageas Bowl.
Visiting spin bowler Gareth Batty tore through Hampshire’s stubborn defences to lift his side out the County Championship drop zone.
Batty collected six wickets, eight for the match, to give Surrey an important win in their fight against playing in division two next year.
The hosts, however, are now cut adrift at the bottom by 23 points after losing by an innings and 13 runs.
Other than a long, time-wasting stand between Will Smith and Ryan McLaren, Surrey snared at regular intervals throughout the day.
In the short term the match will be remembered for its exciting conclusion and importance to the relegation battle.
But the game will live on in the history books, with Surrey’s 2,000th first-class century being scored by Rory Burns, highest visiting team totals at the Ageas Bowl, club record eighth-wicket stand for Surrey and a best ever 10th wicket partnership against Surrey for Hampshire – all broken in this match.
Another was Hampshire’s highest total and still being forced to follow-on, completed when Brad Wheal was run out in the morning, 45 minutes into the session.
It ended a 96 run stand with century maker Lewis McManus – who walked off with his highest first-class score of 132 not out.
Hampshire were still 84 overs away from earning a well fought draw, and still 214 behind Surrey’s mammoth first innings score of 637.
Smith and Jimmy Adams had no interest in scoring runs at any rate, adding 26 in almost 14 overs for the first wicket before the latter edged behind.
Tom Alsop came and went using up 12 balls, to start the longest stand of the day between Smith and McLaren.
The duo added 69 but more importantly used up 26.3 overs, Smith in shell mode with a 133 ball 28.
Batty ended the frustration by bowling Smith through his legs, before Adam Wheater shrugged his arms at a Meaker delivery which reversed back.
Sean Ervine was caught flicking a defensive shot to Aaron Finch at leg slip. Meanwhile McLaren was plugging away and reached fifty in 86 balls.
Batty had McLaren caught by Dominic Sibley at silly point and after 77 was added between McManus and Gareth Berg.
But Batty came alive to grab his fifth, McManus lbw, before Gareth Andrew turned the spinner’s frown around, caught by Finch. Batty ending with figures of six for 51.
Meaker sunk to his knees after trapping Berg for 38 before Mason Crane was bounced out by the fast bowler – who ended with four wickets.
Hampshire had lost four wickets for three runs as Surrey won for the second time this season.