County Championship: Hampshire hold off Warwickshire to claim opening draw
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl|
|Hampshire v Warwickshire|
|Hampshire 202 and 185-5: Dawson 50*, Wheater 34*|
|Warwickshire 360: Bell 174, Woakes 66, Tomlinson 3-79, Edwards 3-102|
|Warwickshire 12 pts, Hampshire 9 pts|
Hampshire's sixth-wicket pair of Liam Dawson and Adam Wheater shared an unbroken stand of 73 to help their side salvage a draw at home to Warwickshire.
In his first game as county captain, England's Ian Bell made 174 to earn the Bears a first-innings lead of 158 in a rain-shortened match at Southampton.
Resuming on 283-6, Bell added 44 to his overnight score to steer the Bears to 360, before Hampshire replied on 185-5.
After losing four quick wickets, Dawson (50 not out) steadied the ship.
He put on 36 with Sean Ervine (22), who eventually stuck his bat out at a wide one from Keith Barker to give the unsung left-armer his seventh wicket of the match.
But after Dawson was joined by wicketkeeper Wheater, there were to be no more Bears breakthroughs, and hands were finally shaken just before 18:00 BST.
Bell looking in prime form
After the frustrating loss of the second day's play, Warwickshire were put in a good position to attempt to force a result by Ian Bell.
After showing his defensive qualities to grind out his 51st first-class century on day three, he showed his more cavalier side with quickfire runs on the final morning.
Piercing the field with an array of shots from reverse sweeps to cover drives, he finally tried one shot too many and skied Ryan McLaren to James Vince at mid-on.
Following his surprise omission for the post-Christmas Test series in South Africa, Bell's first ton in 10 months has already served notice of his desire for a recall when England's series against Sri Lanka starts at Headingley on 19 May.
'We knew it would be tough' - White
Hampshire director of cricket Giles White:
"It was a very important partnership at that stage of the game. We were under pressure but they both came through, showed character, batted well and made good decisions.
"We knew it was going to be tough. It is well known on the circuit that, when you have Keith Barker bowling his left-arm seam, it gives the foot holes for Jeetan Patel to bowl well in the last innings.
"We had to contend with that from a skilful bowler. With Reece Topley injured, a couple of quick wickets and we would have been under pressure. It was good to see them hold firm. We will take the points and move on to Headingley."
Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown told BBC WM:
"It was disappointing to lose nearly four sessions due to bad weather but we can't do anything about that. What we can do is influence the game in a positive way in the time we do have remaining in the game. We gave ourselves a good opportunity. We can't ask for any more than that from the side.
"Keith Barker set the tone up front in decent bowling conditions but he still needed to deliver. He did that really well. He got the five-fer but it could have been any of the seamers who got the reward.
"Ian Bell was a masterclass. There isn't anyone better than him when he's playing that well. He set up the position for us to have a crack at it."
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell told BBC WM:
"We did as much as we possibly could to wine but there's not a lot you can do when you lose four sessions to the weather. Losing that whole day hurt us.
"Ideally, we would have batted on and got maybe 200 in front which would have put them under serious pressure. It was disappointing that we didn't get the time to close out a win, but I couldn't have asked for more from the guys.
"Keith Barker bowled exceptionally well in the first innings and the other guys supported him really well without getting the wickets they deserved. I didn't bowl Chris Woakes in the second innings just as a precaution."