Abbott, Tomlinson check Leics reply
Leicestershire 296 for 9 (Sarwan 60, Robson 54, Taylor 53, Abbott 4-55) trail Hampshire 332 (Buck 5-84) by 36 runs
Division Two leaders Hampshire struck three times late on to snatch a modest advantage over Leicestershire on day two of their Championship clash at Grace Road. The home side looked to be on course for a first-innings lead as they reached 187 for 3 in reply to 332 all out, only for a late clatter of wickets to reduce them to 296 for 9 - a deficit of 36 runs.
South Africa seamer Kyle Abbott took 4 for 55 and new-ball partner James Tomlinson ended the day with 3 for 49 as Leicestershire paid the price for several of their top order failing to go on having played themselves in.
Leicestershire needed just 25 balls to clean up the Hampshire tail in the morning session, with Nathan Buck and Anthony Ireland swiftly getting rid of Abbott and Danny Briggs as Hampshire added just 11 runs to their overnight total of 321 for 8. Former England Lions seamer Buck was the pick of the hosts' attack as he finished with figures of 5 for 84.
The Leicestershire reply got off to a slow start as Abbott swiftly had Greg Smith caught by James Vince at second slip for 4. But Angus Robson, brother of Middlesex's England hopeful Sam, overcame a probing opening spell from Tomlinson before unfurling a string of boundaries to all parts of the ground.
He found a willing ally in Ned Eckersley, who rode his luck throughout the morning session - most noticeably when he was dropped by Sean Ervine at first slip off the unfortunate Tomlinson - as the home side reached 79 for 1 at the interval.
After lunch Eckersley was dropped again behind the stumps and survived two enthusiastic lbw shouts from Abbott, but it was Robson who fell for 54 when Tomlinson changed the angle by coming around the wicket and induced a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Michael Bates.
Eckersley's scratchy 34 was brought to an end when he was bowled trying to hit spinner Briggs square of the wicket, but West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan brought up a quick fifty and Josh Cobb hit Briggs down the ground for six as the home side made it through to tea without further trouble.
Leicestershire captain Sarwan inexplicably skied Abbott's first ball after the interval to Matt Coles at midwicket to depart for 60, and Niall O'Brien carved the same bowler to Will Smith at point for eight four overs later as the hosts slid to 195 for 5.
Part-time offspinner Smith became Hampshire's seventh bowler of the innings and had success in his first over when Cobb nicked one to Bates attempting a cut for 37. Tomlinson then took two wickets in an over with the second new ball - Jigar Naik playing one onto his stumps two deliveries before Ireland nicked through to Vince at second slip. And Abbott snared Rob Taylor for 53 as the left-hander's leading edge flew straight to Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams at mid-off.
The visitors may have expected to wrap things up before close at that stage, but Buck and Charlie Shreck held out until stumps, adding a valuable 15 runs on a track displaying some variable bounce.