Warwickshire edge closer to safety
Warwickshire 29 for 0 v Hampshire 218
Relegation-threatened Warwickshire inched closer to County Championship Division One safety on a gloomy, interrupted day at the Rose Bowl by claiming all three bonus bowling points against Hampshire.
Hampshire, resuming on 147 for 6 with the settled pairing of Dominic Cork and Liam Dawson at the crease, were quickly on the back foot in overcast conditions which once again favoured the bowlers. Veteran Cork, so fluent on Monday in bludgeoning his way to an unbeaten 41, was dismissed by Darren Maddy (4 for 37) without adding to his overnight score, bringing an end to his and Dawson's 64-run partnership.
James Tomlinson followed for a solitary single just three overs later, snared by Rikki Clarke (two for 47) to leave Hampshire once again in the mire on 156 for 8. The wicket brought youngster Danny Briggs to the middle to join his similarly youthful team-mate Dawson, and together the pair dragged the hosts' total towards respectability.
Dawson in particular impressed, going to his half-century while seemingly relishing playing the anchor role to the innings. His scoring remained slow but he demonstrated well-placed trust in his partner as the fresh-faced pair rotated the strike confidently to put on a 50 partnership for the ninth wicket.
With Warwickshire's bowlers growing increasingly frustrated by Briggs' unexpected resistance, the Rose Bowl gloom - which had been threatening to descend all morning - finally settled in. The break was enough to give Warwickshire the fresh impetus they needed as after a paltry six minutes off the field, Imran Tahir returned to finally break the 60-run ninth-wicket partnership by removing Briggs for a well constructed 27 off 43 balls.
A tired Dawson (74) followed just an over later as his stubborn 173-ball stay finally came to a close when he edged a tame Keith Barker delivery behind to leave Hampshire 218 all out. All eyes were cast skywards as the heavy cloud cover lingering over the Rose Bowl made the pavilion lights shine ever brighter, but Warwickshire were able to get their reply underway.
In chilly conditions, Warwickshire made steady progress to their innings, skipper Ian Westwood and Varun Chopra moving to 29 without loss in the face of a fiery spell from former Ashes winner Simon Jones.
Jones, making his first-class debut for Hampshire, troubled both batsmen with good pace, consistent line and some extravagant seam movement on a helpful pitch. But as the Welshman inched ever closer to a maiden first-class wicket in Hampshire colours, so the murky Rose Bowl light finally became too dim, bringing play to a close some four hours early.