Hundred hero Gary Ballance praised Yorkshire’s endeavours after they gave Hampshire a late afternoon scare as they attempted, successfully in the end, to bat out for a Specsavers County Championship draw at Emerald Headingley.

Ballance hit his fifth Championship century in as many matches dating back to last September.

The left-hander’s 100 off 170 balls, completed before lunch on day four, helped the hosts set up a target of 279 in 48 overs.

Hampshire slipped to 7-2 and 35-3 just before tea, only to recover to close on 156-5 from 46.

Yorkshire remain unbeaten with two wins and two draws and sit third in Division One ahead of next week’s clash with Essex at Headingley, starting on Monday.

Ballance was sensational yet again, joining Len Hutton as the only other Yorkshire batsman to hit five hundreds in as many Championship matches. Hutton did it twice in the late forties, including posting seven in a row in 1947/48.

“Again, it’s just nice to contribute, kick on and put us in a decent position to give ourselves a bit of a chance going into the last couple of sessions,” said 29-year-old Ballance.

“I don’t look too much into the stats, it’s just nice being consistent. That’s what I take out of it. I’m pretty happy about that.

“I’m enjoying my cricket this season and being part of this group. When I feel like that, it gets the best out of me. Long may that continue.”

When Duanne Olivier and Ben Coad struck to remove Oli Soames, Ajinkya Rahane and Sam Northeast before tea, there were 35.3 overs remaining, giving Yorkshire a sniff of victory.

Unfortunately, rain ruled the roost this week, with more than 100 overs lost and every day interrupted.

Ballance added: ”We had to give it a go this afternoon.

“Anything can happen on the last day at Headingley.

“We gave ourselves 48 overs, got five wickets and created chances. It was a good effort.

“Had we not lost 100 overs at least in the game, it would have been a good last day. I’m confident we could have got the win.”

Yorkshire claimed eight points and new Division One leaders Hampshire nine. They have played five and one game more than Somerset in second and the White Rose in third.

Specsavers County Championship Division One table

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