Even with their captain Dimitri Mascarenhas to lead them Hampshire found themselves struggling against a sharp Surrey attack which tested the batsmen throughout the two full sessions and a bit that were possible before the weather closed in.
Hampshire might well have wished that it had rained from lunchtime after enjoying a good morning, once they had got over the early loss of Jimmy Adams, thanks to the Michaels – Brown and Lumb.
The third-wicket pair were parted early in the afternoon by which time their stand was worth 133. They both fell victim to the outstanding young fast bowler Chris Jordan, who generated late, away swing and bounce, which saw Brown edge behind and Lumb fall lbw for the 11th time in 20 Championship innings.
Chris Benham was then bowled by Saqlain Mushtaq and Sean Ervine and Mascarenhas had followed them before tea to end a collapse of five wickets for 28 runs. It left Greg Lamb and rookie Tom Burrows to steer them safely to the stoppage, still 74 runs behind Surrey.
Mascarenhas has just returned from the Indian Premier League, having missed the draw at Somerset, and he wants to go back later this month when he would miss the Championship match at Kent.
Mascarenhas is under the impression that the Hampshire chairman, Rod Bransgrove, will stick to a verbal agreement to release his captain for a second time later this month.
"At this stage I probably will be going back for the finals. I haven't spoken to him since my arrival back here yet. But when we first negotiated he said that I would be able to go back and I am assuming that still stands."
But earlier this week Bransgrove was reported as saying: "Given the Championship position we are in I'd be disappointed if Dimi wanted to leave the ship again. We're in a pickle at present and I thought as our captain he will not ask."Reuse content