After, finally, a full day's play, Hampshire managed to force a draw without undue difficulty against the touring Zimbabwean team, the match finishing 20 minutes early in bright sunshine.
Zimbabwe began the day 150 runs ahead of the county side, with four first-innings wickets in hand. Alistair Campbell, on 108 overnight, found it difficult to find his fluency, and his partner Tatenda Taibu made most of the early runs, but the inexperienced Taibu (17 next month) played some of the most impressive strokes - cover drives (off front and back foot) a flick to long leg and a square cut all reaching the boundary.
Hampshire were not impressive, with some loose bowling and one or two half chances and three possible run-outs were missed. Taibu (36) was finally adjudged lbw to Francis and now has a first-class average of 47, after scoring 11 not out in his debut match in the West Indies.
Campbell drove Charlie van der Gucht for a straight six, and then took a single to reach an unbeaten 150, whereupon he declared with a lead of 233. Hampshire made a steady start to their second innings, reaching 17 without loss at lunch (Jason Laney 8, Giles White 9).
The tourists never seriously looked likely to force a victory, due mainly to erratic bowling. Henry Olonga and Neil Johnson were the most disappointing, but altogether there were too many short and wide balls. Laney and White enjoyed the freedom of the extra width and rattled up some quick runs before the bowlers began to get their act together again. They scored 86 together before White unaccountably shouldered arms to `Pommie' Mbangwa, only to have his off stump sent cartwheeling out of the ground.
At the other end Laney sliced a catch off Guy Whittall to Trevor Gripper in the covers, and Hampshire had to dig in again. Will Kendall and Robin Smith played with great care, although the latter got of the mark with a snick of Whittall just too high and wide for second slip to grasp. Both looked tentative and it was a different ball game for a while until Smith suddenly crashed Mbangwa to the extra cover boundary and the tension lifted somewhat. At tea the match was looking safe for them with the score at 111 for 2 (Kendall 9, Smith 12).
Smith continued to bat with care in the final session, but still commanded attention with the occasional boundary of unparalleled power. He scored 60 off 114 balls before pushing forward to Johnson, more disciplined in his second spell, and giving a regulation catch to Campbell at second slip. Derek Kendall scored only 2 before driving half-heartedly at Whittall and being caught at the wicket, making Hampshire 214 for 4.
Kendall had been batting unspectacularly without getting bogged down, reaching his fifty; eventually he snicked Johnson through the slips for four, taking Hampshire to 234 for 4, which avoided the innings defeat and the teams agreed to call it a day.
West Indians vs Zimbabweans
Zimbabweans vs M.C.C.
Zimbabweans vs Essex
Essex vs Zimbabweans
Sussex vs Zimbabweans
Zimbabweans vs Kent
Hampshire vs Zimbabweans
Zimbabwe tour of England and Ireland