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Middlesex on back foot at Hampshire

PUBLISHED: 08:58 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 17 April 2017

Middlesex face the camera during their media day at Lord's ahead of the new county championship season (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Middlesex face the camera during their media day at Lord's ahead of the new county championship season (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Defending champions hoping for draw at Ageas Bowl

Middlesex will begin the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Hampshire with a slender lead and six wickets in hand at the Ageas Bowl.

The home side batted themselves into a position of strength on day three, as Michael Carberry and Rilee Rossouw just missed out on centuries.

Replying to Middlesex’s 356, Hampshire scored 438 in their first innings thanks largely to Carberry (98) and Rossouw (99), before taking four wickets to raise hopes of a victory against the defending Division One champions.

Kyle Abbott removed Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins with excelent deliveries, but saw Sean Ervine spill a chance off Steve Eskinazi at slip.

Brad Wheal accounted for Dawid Malan with a big inswinger, before Eskinazi and Adam Voges steadied the Middlesex ship with a fourth-wicket stand.

But Eskinazi fell to Abbott late in the day for 45 to leave the visitors on 111-4, with Voges (29 not out) and nightwatchman Steve Finn at the crease and looking to save the game on the south coast.

Middlesex 1st inns 356 (Robson 84, Eskinazi 82); Hampshire 1st inns 438 (Rossouw 99, Carberry 98; Malan 2-19, Roland-Jones 2-86, Rayner 2-107); Middlesex 2nd inns 111-4.

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