Yorkshire 281 and 143 for 2 (Lyth 56) lead Hampshire 222 by 202 runs
If you sit in the Ageas Bowl for a Championship match when the crowd is made up of a few hundred people you can hear the steady whir of the motorway just a few hundred metres down the road; a reminder that cricket or no cricket the rest of the world continues as it always has done. Things are happening, people are moving.
At 3.46pm on this bleak September day, with the square and pitch under covers and the floodlights on, the dull drone of the motorway was interrupted by the tannoy system at the ground crackling into life to announce the other scores from around the country. The cricket in Southampton may have been halted by dank rain and miserable light but elsewhere life went on, and so too did cricket.
Few things can have been more galling for Hampshire and Yorkshire, both sides desperate to play in search of crucial points at the top and bottom of the table, than to hear the scores from Chester-le-Street and Edgbaston called out as they looked out over thousands of empty seats and a pitch totally obscured by covers.
As the PA completed his round-up, through Old Trafford, Derby, Wantage Road and Chelmsford, the scores echoing around the ground were replaced once more by the din of the motorway and the sound of rain on the covers. "That was about as frustrating as it has been all year today," Yorkshire's captain Andrew Gale said, after play was finally called off for the day at 5.36pm with just 19 overs of disjointed cricket possible in which Yorkshire added 74 to their overnight lead.
It is strange really. Moments like Ryan Sidebottom's wicket of Sean Ervine on day two of this match feel significant in the arc of the season. Yet days curtailed by rain and bad light such as this often do not. Perhaps that's because this is sport and we look to moments that happen as opposed to don't happen. Yet with Middlesex looking to force a result in Birmingham and Nottinghamshire and Durham collecting valuable points in their match, days like this in Southampton - when possible wins become likely draws, points appear to slip away and ground is lost - can shape entire seasons.
Equally, a team's ability to turn days such as these to their own advantage can be season-defining too. Whisper it quietly but it is an ability you would expect to find in champions.
Heading into the final day Yorkshire lead by 202 runs with eight wickets remaining. Despite this truncated third day, all four results are still possible and both teams are aware of the possibilities that a Yorkshire declaration could present. It is that time of the season when disparate matches all around the country suddenly appear to intertwine; the season's tapestry finally coming together.
"It is in Yorkshire's hands," Hampshire's director of cricket, Giles White, admitted. "They might view it that they'd like to force a result which might open the door for us but it is for them to make that call. They'll have to weigh up what is happening with Middlesex at Edgbaston. They'll have a think how long it'll take them to bowl us out and make a call from there whether it is worth risking five points for sixteen."
Would Gale take that risk? "We will try and accelerate the game forward to get a result," he said, "but we are not going to throw it away at this time of year." How many runs did he feel they would want? "I'll sleep on it," he said, and with that he was gone, turning his back on a day of frustration.