Vital knocks from Adam Wheater (52) and Will Smith (64*) helped Hampshire secure a draw on the final day of the LV= County Championship match against Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl.
Needing ten wickets to secure the win on day four, Joe Leach (4-89) impressed early on to leave Hants reeling on 83-4 at lunch.
However, Wheater and Smith batted superbly after lunch alongside an excellent innings from Gareth Berg (32*) to steer the home side to 245-6 at stumps, to prevent their third defeat of the Championship campaign.
The Hampshire players and coaches would be the first to admit that they haven’t been at their best in this match. But they have certainly shown a huge amount of grit and determination that was required on the final day.
However, it was most definitely Worcestershire’s morning at a sunny Ageas Bowl with two wickets at the start and at the end of the session, leaving Hampshire reeling on 83-4.
The common cricketing phrase ‘dig in’ could not have been any more appropriate for Wheater and Smith after lunch and the pair batted patiently and did an excellent job of frustrating the Worcestershire seam attack for probably the first time in the match.
It was an excellent partnership worth 68 runs (more importantly 28.3 overs) from the pair which quickly dented Worcestershire’s hopes of securing a famous away win.
Wheater deservedly reached his half-century during the afternoon session but a wicket either side of tea from the impressive Leach, who eventually finished with career-best figures, once again gave Worcestershire a sniff of victory.
However, it was a near-faultless display from Smith during his 150-ball stay at the crease as he and Berg saw Hants through a tricky period in the session to love Hants into a lead.
Worcestershire’s last throw of the dice was taking the new ball, but the Hants pair saw it home, finishing with an unbeaten partnership of 72 for the seventh wicket – the fourth highest partnership of the whole match!