Second-placed Lancashire negotiated a troublefree path to lunch after finding themselves forced to field for an unexpectedly longer time than had been anticipated.
With just one Hampshire wicket to claim when play resumed this morning it appeared to be a formality to knock over a tail-ender and begin the reply to what would have been a modest score.
As it was Lancashire openers Paul Horton and Lou Vincent had knocked off 41 runs by the time the lunch interval arrived.
The Hampshire last wicket pair of Chris Tremlett and James Tomlinson had treated Lancashire to a miserable morning of hit and miss.
When they weren’t hitting the ball to the boundary, they were playing and missing, and all the while the Hampshire total crept up.
At one point Tremlett exploded into action smacking the former England all-rounder Dominic Cork for a 6 and two fours in one over. A little later he collected successive boundaries off Lancashire leggie Francois du Plessis, which not only took Tremlett to the fifth half century of his career but also brought up the 300 and a third batting bonus point for Hampshire, something which had seemed highly unlikely when they had resumed on 248 for nine some 70 minutes earlier.
Andrew Flintoff underlined his readiness to win a Test recall with a fiery spell, but unfortunately his seven overs this morning were wicketless, although he conceded only seventeen runs to finish with overall figures of 21-4-46-1.
Tremlett and Tomlinson’s last wicket stand was worth an invaluable 84 runs to Hampshire, who began this match one place off the bottom of the First Division table.
Tremlett was last out caught at square leg off the bowling of Sajid Mahmood for 60, the third highest score of his career, and just four fewer than his personal best.