Yorkshire fans were forced to suffer a nervy 15-minute wait this morning before Andrew Gale finally moved from his overnight 99 into three figures.
The nerves had clearly got to the batsman as well because in the first over of the day he missed a pull at a short ball from Chris Tremlett and the ball trickled off his body and rolled dangerously close to the stumps.
There were a couple of plays and misses as well before James Tomlinson sent down a short ball. Gale swivelled and pulled it down to fine leg and the ball went over the rope for the 15th boundary of his innings and more importantly getting the batsman to three figures for only the second time in his First Class career.
Barely had the batsman’s and the Yorkshire celebrations died down than Hampshire had something to cheer, when Tremlett found the edge of Tim Bresnan’s bat and wicketkeeper Nic Pothas claimed his second victim of the innings.
Bresnan’s departure brought Ajmal Shahzad to the crease and he and Gale upped the scoring rate quite significantly, given the overcast conditions.
Ajmal, who is still only 22, is highly regarded as an all-round prospect. He certainly revealed that he knows how to wield a bat as he helped earn Yorkshire a third batting bonus point and took them well on the way to a fourth.
Gale was content to play second fiddle in this eighth wicket partnership as he took his score along to 120 without any further alarms.
The Hampshire cause was not helped by the enforced absence of New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who was unable to bowl today, and in fact is unlikely to bowl for the rest of this innings, because he has a troublesome ankle injury.
Bond, who is expected to bowl in the Yorkshire second innings, turned his right ankle yesterday and although he carried on bowling for a while, overnight the condition of the joint has not improved and so Hampshire decided to rest him.