Northamptonshire 159 for 5 (Coetzer 59) trail Hampshire 206 (Dawson 76, Copeland 4-56, Azharullah 3-59) by 47 runs
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer struck a half-century on the third day as Northamptonshire's Championship match against Hampshire at Wantage Road meandered towards a draw.
Hampshire were bowled out for 206 before lunch, losing their last five wickets for only 27 runs, with Liam Dawson top-scoring with a composed 76 off 214 balls. Coetzer then made 59 off 142 deliveries as Division Two leaders Northants closed on 159 for 5, with the visitors' attack sharing the spoils between them.
Hampshire began the day on 149 for 5 with Dawson resuming his innings on 57 and Mike Roberts on 2. Roberts, however, only moved on to 12 before he was trapped lbw to give Mohammad Azharullah his first wicket on his Championship debut in the 74th over. Having batted so diligently, Dawson then threw his wicket away in the following over when he thrashed former South Africa allrounder Andrew Hall straight to David Sales at mid-on.
The visitors then dropped a third wicket in just 14 deliveries when David Balcombe, who faced 11 balls without scoring, was taken by Sales at third slip off Azharullah. The Pakistani seamer then claimed his third victim when Chris Wood edged to Hall at first slip before David Willey finished off Hampshire's innings by bowling Danny Briggs for 10.
Northants lost Matthew Spriegel in the seventh over of their reply when he was pinned lbw by James Tomlinson after making just 3. Sales then walked for 15 when he edged Sean Ervine's delivery down the leg side and was terrifically taken by Hampshire wicketkeeper Adam Wheater diving low to his left.
James Vince was brought into the attack in the 32nd over and removed Northants captain Alex Wakely (7) four balls later when he was caught at first slip by former Zimbabwe international Ervine. Coetzer, however, completed his first half-century in the Championship this season off 102 balls as Northants reached tea on 88 for 3.
But Coetzer was to perish after a hard-earned 59 when he nudged Briggs to Wheater to become the first victim of spin in the match. Rob Newton struggled to 21 before he succumbed to allow Wood into the act when he was easily taken by Briggs at gully after the ball looped off the shoulder of his bat.