Yorkshire are hoping a chase in the region of 200 will be a tough one for Hampshire to reel in on day four at the Ageas Bowl, says assistant coach Ali Maiden.
The former opening batter assessed a third day which “ebbed and flowed” as Yorkshire ended on 101-5 in their second innings, a lead of 119.
While all results remain realistic, Hampshire will be the happier of the two dressing rooms having fought their way back into game thanks to five wickets in the evening having earlier conceded a lead of 18 on first innings.
Keith Barker completed figures of 3-22 after tea having seen ninth-wicket pair James Fuller and Kyle Abbott share 74 to advance from 333-8 during the afternoon as the hosts responded to 428 with 410.
“That ninth-wicket partnership enabled them to get a bit closer to us, and then when we batted it seemed like the pitch misbehaved a little bit more,” said Maiden.
“A couple of balls bounced and got the edge – Frainey’s dismissal and Lythy’s took the shoulder of the bat.
“Our aim is to get 200 plus. We think that would be a tough chase on that pitch, albeit you don’t know how things go because in the first innings I thought a few went through the top and bounced a bit. Then, actually, it didn’t seem to do that much when we bowled.
“Who knows what will happen, but our aim is to get up around 200 and hope some balls bounce and we see similar sorts of misbehaviour to tonight and balls spinning out of the rough.
“It sets it up for a really competitive day’s cricket. We have to do a bit of work in the morning to give our bowlers something to bowl at.”
Maiden continued: “We could have probably bowled them out for a bigger lead. That big partnership at the end was a bit of a shame because if we go in with a 60 or 70 lead, that’s a massive difference.
“All the other games we’ve played, the pitches have been flat and there was a lot of discussion about the balls. But this has been a good pitch and the ball has done enough to keep the bowler interested, spin and pace.
“It’s been a bit more of an evenly balanced pitch as opposed to being in favour of the batters.”
West Indian overseas quick Dominic Drakes could be a key man tomorrow, chiefly with ball and bat. The affable Bajan was within earshot of Maiden as he spoke to the media this evening having earlier finished with figures of 1-49 from 18 overs.
“Dom bowled very well, considering he hasn’t played four-day cricket for a while. And he got better through the innings,” said Maiden. “I’m certainly looking forward to seeing him bowl with that new ball tomorrow.
“If he gets in with the bat as well, he could really kick on.
“That was the thing about Bessy and Dukey getting through tonight.
“It was a really big part of the game because if they can work hard in the morning and give us some breathing space, all of a sudden Tommo, Rev and Dom could come in and take the game away from them.
“All to play for tomorrow!”