Chilton and Smith dig in for Lancashire
Lancashire 283 and 106 for 1 v Hampshire 369
Diligent batting by Tom Smith and Mark Chilton dug Lancashire out of trouble in the County Championship Division One match with Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
Lancashire, the only unbeaten team in the championship, started their second innings 86 in arrears and facing a grim battle for survival. Their plight worsened in the fourth over when left arm pace bowler James Tomlinson found a gap in the defences of opener Paul Horton and bowled him.
This left Lancashire eight for one and it was then that Smith and Chilton came together in a gritty unbroken stand of 98 for the second wicket to halt Hampshire's charge. Smith, who only five times previously had reached the half-century mark, ended the third day 60 not out while Chilton, no less vigilant, was unbeaten with 32.
At the close Lancashire were 106 for 1 from 52 overs, a precarious lead of 20 after Smith and Chilton had begun the repair job. Hampshire were held up in the first instance by the effects of overnight rain which wiped 16 overs from the day's allocation.
They began the day four runs ahead of the Lancashire first innings total at 287 for 6 and were in no mood to let Lancashire back into the game. Lancashire captain Glen Chapple quickly removed debut-making Michael Bates and David Balcombe but former Lancashire all-rounder and now Hampshire captain Dominic Cork engineered a spirited tail-end resistance.
Tomlinson helped Cork put on 48 for the ninth wicket before Gary Keedy dismissed Tomlinson and Danny Briggs. Cork was left unbeaten with 54 from 79 balls, helping Hampshire build an impressive first innings lead of 86.
Chapple took 4 for 68 and Keedy claimed 4 for 56 as Hampshire were eventually all out for 369. The early loss of Horton caused more problems for Lancashire but Smith and Chilton spent the next 48 overs making sure there were no further successes for Hampshire.
Smith's innings has so far occupied 155 balls and Chilton's has taken him another 147 but the value to Lancashire in the circumstances was immense. Left arm spinner Briggs bowled 19 of the 52 overs so far in the Lancashire innings but there was little in the wicket to help him compared with the exaggerated movement of the first day.
Lancashire's careful second-wicket pair took their side to the 100 mark in the 48 overs but it needed 39 before the deficit was eradicated.