County Championship: Hampshire battle to draw with Worcs
|LV= County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl|
|Hampshire: 222 & 245-6: Smith 64 no, Wheater 52, Adams 47, Leach 4-89|
|Worcestershire 403-5 dec: Mitchell 142 not out|
|Worcestershire 13 pts, Hampshire 7 pts|
Hampshire batted throughout the final day to draw with fellow strugglers Worcestershire but remain bottom of the County Championship Division One table.
The home side began the day at Southampton on 1-0, still needing 180 to make Worcestershire bat again.
But Will Smith (64 no) and Adam Wheater (52) both defied painful finger injuries to see their side to safety.
Joe Leach followed his first innings five-wicket haul by taking 4-89, but Hampshire saw out time on 245-6.
Two wickets on the verge of lunch from Ed Barnard and Leach looked to have put Worcestershire in the box seat.
|Leach looks the part for Worcestershire|
|Joe Leach enjoyed his best match analysis of 9-152, having followed his first-innings haul of 5-63 by taking 4-89.|
But, crucially, Hampshire lost just one wicket in the afternoon session as Wheater, curbing his natural attacking instincts, and Smith shut up shop.
Wheater had been to hospital for an x-ray on his finger and Smith also had time off the field on the second day. But, together they thwarted the visitors until Wheater was bowled not playing a shot from a Leach off-cutter.
Even then, Smith held firm in the final session, in the company of Gareth Berg (32 not out), before visiting skipper Daryl Mitchell offered to shake hands at 17:45 BST.
While winless Hampshire stay at the foot of Division One, Worcestershire climb a place to seventh, ahead of Somerset, prior to their next Championship game - the return derby with Warwickshire at Edgbaston on 14 June, by which time they should be able to call on star Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal again.
The remoulded Ajmal, 37, has not been included by Pakistan in their squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, which starts in a fortnight's time.
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams:
"In terms of the last day we did what we needed to do but it has been a tough few days. Worcestershire have outplayed us from the start.
"They were excellent with the ball in both innings and showed us what we needed to do on our own patch. We didn't bowl how we would have like and didn't bat how we would have liked either.
"Worcestershire pushed for a result and the weather has helped us. It was good character from Wheats, Will and Bergy. Those three got us through some sticky patches."
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell:
"We thought we had a good chance of winning but we knew Hampshire batted deep with someone like Bergy coming in at eight.
"I thought Will Smith batted very well. We couldn't prise him out but our bowlers stuck to their task well.
"Leachy was brilliant. He ran in loads and bowled well searching for that 10th wicket he thoroughly deserved but unfortunately it wasn't to be."