Hampshire 319 and 38 for 1 lead Warwickshire 280 (Ambrose 113, Tomlinson 3-53) by 77 runs
Tim Ambrose's bullish century underpinned a Warwickshire fightback after Hampshire's seam bowlers had put their side in control on the second day of the Championship match at Edgbaston.
When Warwickshire, collectively guilty of fallible judgment outside off stump, declined to 120 for 6 in reply to 319, they were far from certain to avoid the follow-on. But Ambrose took a faltering innings by the scruff of the neck and forced it forward again. The 32-year-old's 113 - his 13th first-class century - lifted Warwickshire to 280 and kept them in an intriguing contest.
In a match in which few batsmen have looked entirely comfortable, though there is nothing wrong with the pitch, a first-innings lead of 39 for Hampshire could still prove very useful. Jimmy Adams edged the first ball of their second innings to the wicketkeeper but they avoided further damage during a fine opening spell from left-armer Keith Barker to reach 38 for 1 - 77 ahead overall - by the close.
Hampshire dominated a morning session in which they took five wickets, the first three for three runs in a 19-ball flurry as Gareth Berg and James Tomlinson induced edges from Varun Chopra, Ian Westwood and William Porterfield.
Laurie Evans then fell lbw to Sean Ervine and Andre Adams removed Sam Hain and Rikki Clarke either side of lunch. Adams should also have had Ambrose, on 35, but Liam Dawson grassed the chance at second slip - and the miss was to prove costly.
Barker and Jeetan Patel offered Ambrose valuable support as the former England man played positively and was especially severe on anything wide outside off stump. For any spectator with a passion for partnerships of 65, it was a rare treat in the Birmingham sunshine as Ambrose added 65 for the seventh wicket with Barker and the same for the eighth with Patel.
The ninth failed to yield 65, mustering a mere 21 before Ambrose lifted James Tomlinson to extra cover. Berg then wrapped up the innings by briskly removing Boyd Rankin but the fact that No. 10 Chris Wright walked off unbeaten after batting for 50 minutes in relative comfort while 30 runs were added illustrated that batting is quite possible on this pitch.
Adams' first-ball departure excited the home side but Dawson and Michael Carberry saw the day out to leave Hampshire on top in a small but potentially significant way.