Hampshire 472 for 9 dec (Ervine 93, Adams 86, Smith 67) and 9 for 0 lead Durham 421 for 9 (Jennings 129) by 60 runs
Durham challenged Hampshire to set them a target on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Chester-le-Street by declaring 51 behind on 421 for 9.
With six overs to bat, Will Smith and Jimmy Adams stretched the lead to 60. But however desperate Hampshire might be for a win, it would be an enormous gamble to set a target on the flat pitch.
Keaton Jennings followed his unbeaten 221 in the second innings of Durham's last match, against Yorkshire, by making 129, his fifth century of the season.
With Jack Burnham scoring 74 and Ben Stokes a run-a-ball half-century, Durham reached 288 for three before subsiding to 349 for 9.
But with ten overs to score 51 for maximum batting points, Barry McCarthy and Graham Onions got there with ten balls to spare.
The Irishman hit two sixes in reaching his maiden 50 off 47 balls, while Onions contributed 23 to the unbroken stand of 72.
Watched by national selector James Whitaker, Stokes clobbered three back-foot fours in four balls off Tino Best, who finished with none for 104 in 19 overs.
There were also some cracking drives among Stokes' eight fours but he fell for 51 when he was bowled off his pads, looking to force acting captain Smith's occasional off-spin through mid-wicket off the back foot.
With the overnight pair putting on 158, it was well into the afternoon before Durham lost a wicket when Burnham chipped to mid-on.
At that point Ryan McLaren had all three wickets, but shortly after the second new ball was taken he pulled up and was escorted off by the physio.
His first ball in the day's second over struck Burnham on the helmet, but the youngster shrugged it off, as he did the rest of the short stuff which came his way.
He was not in total control of a hook for four off McLaren, but showed great composure in completing his first 50 since his maiden century at the Oval in the third game.
Jennings, resuming on 36, scored one run from 35 balls under the heavy morning cloud before a ten-minute stoppage for rain.
Under brighter skies runs flowed more freely and after Burnham's exit Stokes got the better of an entertaining joust with Best, who almost snared him at deep backward square on 13.
Best was driven wide of mid-off by Jennings for the two runs which took the opener to his hundred off 201 balls. He fell in the third over of the new ball, pushing forward and edging Gareth Berg to Adams at second slip.
Gareth Andrew replaced the injured McLaren and chipped in with three wickets as Durham crumbled without their cornerstone until McCarthy took a hand.