Worcestershire on top despite Tahir five
Hampshire 179 and 84 for 6 v Worcestershire 204
Spin bowler Imran Tahir took five wickets but the battle between the bottom two sides in Division One moved firmly in Worcestershire's direction at the end of the third day. Tahir finished with five wickets for 29 runs and left arm pace bowler Chris Wood took 4 for 35 but Worcestershire still managed to finish with a slender first innings advantage of 29 at The Rose Bowl.
By the close this had began to look of vital importance because Hampshire ended the day only 53 ahead at a perilous 84 for 6 in their second innings. Medium pacer Gareth Andrew, who took three wickets in the Hampshire first innings, took another three in the second to leave second-from-bottom Worcestershire in with a great chance of victory.
The visitors began the third day 67 behind at 112 for 1 with the first 75 minutes - and 12 overs - lost to overnight rain. Worcestershire appeared to be heading for a commanding lead at lunch when they were 135 for 1 with Vikram Solanki in control.
But Wood induced a collapse in which Worcestershire lost five wickets for six runs in only four overs. Wood dismissed James Cameron, Moeen Ali two bowls later, and then had Alexei Kervezee caught at the wicket to give him three wickets in five balls.
James Tomlinson then bowled Aneesh Kapil and Wood removed Andrew to give him figures for his spell of 4 for 8 in five overs. There was a late resistance between the obdurate Solanki and Ben Scott who added 43 for the seventh wicket but then Tahir quickly ran through the tail.
The Pakistan-born, South Africa-qualified legspinner sent back Scott, Richard Jones, Kemar Roach and last man Alan Richardson as Worcestershire were all out for 204 - having lost their last nine wickets for 69. Only Solanki resisted, finishing with a crucial 79 not out from 156 balls - an innings which included 11 fours.
Hampshire was soon in trouble again when they batted a second time with Liam Dawson, Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie all out before the deficit had been overcome. Worse was to follow for the bottom-placed hosts with James Vince out on 43, Sean Ervine 10 runs later and then, just before bad light brought the players off, Nic Pothas.
Andrew finished with 3 for 31 and there were two wickets for West Indian pace bowler Roach, making his county debut. However, Hampshire know a sixth defeat of the season will push them nearer relegation.