Voges and the tail defy Hampshire

Middlesex 356 and 278 for 9 dec (Voges 92, Abbott 5-59) drew with Hampshire 438 (Rossouw 99, Carberry 98, Abbott 56, Ervine 53)

Middlesex began their Specsavers County Championship title defence with a hard-fought draw with Hampshire - after Adam Voges found prolonged support from the tail to stave off defeat.

Hampshire had looked set to ease to victory after three wickets with the second new ball but the visitors held on at the Ageas Bowl. Both sides took 10 points to give each an unbeaten start to the season - after Hampshire had beaten Yorkshire in the opening round.

Middlesex were in defensive mood throughout the fourth day with a slender lead of 27, with six wickets in hand, going into the day. Voges and nightwatchman Steven Finn saw off the first 57 minutes of the morning.

Voges in particular looked unmovable, with a desperate lbw shout against him the closest the hosts can to an early scalp. Finn, who had been prolific in his blocking, was the only wicket to in the morning when he was caught out by substitute fielder Fraser Hay at midwicket after a cunning Brad Wheal short-ball plan paid off.

Hampshire struck three balls after taking the new ball, Voges chasing Kyle Abbott on the cut to edge behind. In doing so, Voges became the third batsman to fall in the 90s in the match. Only two more runs were scored before James Franklin nicked Abbott to Jimmy Adams at second slip with a delightful delivery. Then five balls later Gareth Berg pulled out the delivery of the day when he managed to get one to spit off a length to have John Simpson caught at the wicket.

But Toby Roland-Jones took the sting out of Hampshire with a time-consuming 25. The Wisden Cricketer of the Year did depart when he clipped Wheal to Adams while attempting a slog pull.

If Hampshire had taken the last wicket quickly there was still time for a thrilling chase but a perplexing over from Wheal saw Tim Murtagh pull him three times straight down the ground.