Day 4, Close: MATCH DRAWN, Hampshire 336 & 290/5d, Middlesex 361 & 55/2.

FULL SCORECARD

Half centuries for Jimmy Adams and Adam Wheater made sure both Hampshire and Middlesex secured a third draw in three Specsavers County Championship fixtures.

Adams, on his first appearance of the season after twisting his ankle while avoiding a bouncer in a pre-season net in Barbados, led the charge with a 70.

Before Wheater, alongside Ryan McLaren took the sting out of the match, with an unbeaten 57 – to extend both sides’ unbeaten start to 2016.

Hampshire resumed the final day with a lead of 26 knowing they needed to bat out the majority of the day to make sure Middlesex did not sneak a win.

Adams, with skipper James Vince, started solidly enough – with the latter again showing some flair with the pair adding 81-runs for the second wicket

But Vince somewhat gave his wicket away by edging fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones to Sam Robson at gully.

Will Smith provided little assistance to the cause when he was adjudged leg before to Tim Murtagh less than ten overs later – the first of two blips for the hosts.

Adams, meanwhile had reached a 140 ball fifty as he proved a valuable anchor, before he loosely swung at a ball outside the off-stump to first slip – a rare mistake in a mostly flawless knock.

Alarm bells rang two overs later when Liam Dawson, on 19, was comprehensively bowled by a Steven Finn delivery which kept very low – not a rare occurrence on a pitch which offered variable bounce throughout.

But a 104 run stand for the sixth wicket between Wheater and McLaren eased the game back to its natural conclusion of a draw.

Wicket-keeper Wheater had kept the game moving with a half-century from 74 balls – with just eight of the runs coming from boundaries in a busy innings.

McLaren also batted to quickly take the possibility of defeat away – ending the innings on an unbeaten 46 as Vince declared at tea. Hampshire desperate to get the over rate into minus figures.

There was still time for nerves for the visitors as Robson fell for a three ball duck – as he edged Tino Best behind for the West Indian’s first Hampshire wicket.

Best was bowling at feverous pace and was close to getting Nick Compton lbw before Nick Gubbins was leg before to James Tomlinson – the visitors effectively 19 for three, with Adam Voges absent, with 20 overs still on the board.

But first innings centurion Dawid Malan and Compton saw Middlesex home – as Vince and stand-in Compton shock hands at exactly 5pm – Middlesex taking 12 points, Hampshire one fewer.

 

Day 4, Tea: Hampshire 290/5

FULL SCORECARD

Adam Wheater and Ryan McLaren added 104 for the sixth wicket to plunder the game closer to a draw – despite two quick wickets in the afternoon session.

Hampshire lead by 265 with just 31 overs remaining in the game.

Wicket-keeper Wheater kept the game moving with a half-century from 74 balls – with just eight of the runs coming from boundaries in a busy innings.

His knock came after Liam Dawson and Jimmy Adams had fallen within two overs of each other – the former comprehensively bowled by a Steven Finn shooter, while Adams was dismissed for an important 70 after swiping outside off stump to first slip.

McLaren also batted to quickly take the possibility of defeat away – ending the session on an unbeaten 46.

 

Day 4, Lunch: Hampshire 172/3

FULL SCORECARD

Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh took a wicket a piece to give Middlesex a glimmer of forcing a result against Hampshire.

Fast bowler Ronald-Jones saw off Hampshire captain James Vince – who had looked serene in his 38 runs yesterday evening and this morning, before he edged to gully while driving.

Murtagh grabbed his fifth of the match nine overs later after a stodgy innings by Will Smith was ended by an lbw, to a ball which kept relatively low.

Jimmy Adams anchored an end throughout the session, including an 81 run stand with Vince, and reached a half century, from 140 deliveries including six fours.

A draw is still the favourite outcome unless the visitors take a flurry of afternoon wickets - Hampshire leading by 147.