Director of cricket Giles White remained positive despite a frustrating third day in Hampshire’s Specsavers County Championship division one decider against Durham.
The Ageas Bowl side require a win to maintain their top-flight status.
But their hopes were dented today, with rain delaying the start until after lunch, before the visitors added 119 to their overnight total of 247 for two to finish on 361 – 50 runs behind the hosts’ first innings total.
With the bat, Brydon Carse (46) and Graham Onions (38) shared partnerships of 79 and 86 respectively with Michael Richardson to take the visitors beyond 350.
Richardson finished on 99 not out to record his highest score of the season.
Then it was Durham off-spinner Ryan Pringle’s turn to throw a spanner in the works.
He grabbed his second career five-for at the Ageas Bowl (five for 64), with the wily turner restricting Hampshire, who finished the day on 176 for seven, to a lead of just 226.
Lewis McManus remained at the crease on 41, accompanied by Mason Crane (1), following the dismissal of Liam Dawson (39) in the 43rd over.
‘We will bat tomorrow, see how many we can get and set them something,’ said White.
‘Hopefully, we can bat for an hour and see where we are.
‘It has consistently spun throughout the game. It hasn’t done more but if you build pressure it can be difficult to come in on that type of wicket.
‘We are hoping to put Durham under pressure chasing a score and see where it leads.
‘Going into the last day of the game is an interesting place to be.
‘It didn’t go to plan this morning, we wanted to bowl them out quicker.
‘Richardson batted particularly well and it was frustrating for us.
‘We probably weren’t at our best and need to be better with the ball second time around.
‘We always wanted to bat tomorrow morning. We got off to a pace but then lost wickets and had to hold back and consolidate.
‘We feel if we get the right target for Durham they will go for it and give us opportunities to pick up wickets throughout the way.’