LV County Championship - Division One
Basingstoke - Day Three
Durham 156 (W R Smith 70, A D Mascarenhas 5-46) & 179 (J A Tomlinson 5-62, Imran Tahir 4-53) v Hampshire 96 (M Davies 8-24) & 240-8 (S M Ervine 94 no)
Hampshire (17pts) beat Durham (3pts) by 2 wkts
Sean Ervine's knock gave Hampshire a surprising three-day victory in a wicket-laden match at Basingstoke against Durham, who wasted the chance to go top of the County Championship.
Starting the day on 108-5, Hampshire needed to make the biggest score of the match of 240 to seal an unlikely win, but an unbeaten 94 from Ervine helped guide the hosts to victory.
Hampshire were 108 for five in their second innings overnight, still needing another 132 to complete an unlikely double over Durham.
But Durham had reckoned without Zimbabwean Ervine, who curbed his attacking instincts to usher the Hampshire tail home amid scenes of high tension.
Had Durham emerged as victors they would have been in a powerful position to go on and clinch the county title.
Hampshire, shot out for 96 in their first innings, were in no mood to allow Durham the chance to gain revenge for a five-run defeat at the Riverside earlier in the season.
The troublesome wicket appeared surprisingly docile after the batting horrors of the first two days as Ervine and sixth-wicket partner Liam Dawson whittled down the target.
With the wicket looking much quieter than the first two days, Ervine and Liam Dawson put on 94 runs for the sixth wicket to creep up towards the target when 19-year-old Dawson was caught out on 28.
Zimbabwean Ervine was sticking around nicely but Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas got out with the score on 209 and when David Balcombe became the eighth wicket down with the score on 219 Durham looked to have a great chance.
Imran Tahir joined Ervine though and the two of them secured the 21 runs needed for an entertaining victory.
Hampshire require another 132 runs with just five wickets in hand after another frantic day at May's Bounty.
A total of 19 wickets fell to follow the 16 that went on the opening day with Mark Davies taking a career-best eight for 24 before his Durham side were bowled out for 179.
The hosts then limped to 108-5 in the final session although an unbeaten partnership of 31 between Sean Ervine and Liam Dawson has given them some hope of completing what would be a remarkable win.
Davies had returned in the morning to mop up the Hampshire tail for 96, their lowest total for eight years, sending back David Balcombe, Imran Tahir and defiant captain Dimitri Mascarenhas.
It meant a first innings lead of 60 for the visitors, but they struggled once again second time around despite several players getting starts.
Left-arm swing-bowler James Tomlinson found conditions ideal, taking five for 62 including opener Michael Di Venuto for another duck, before adding the scalps of Will Smith, still the only player to score more than 50 in the match, Phil Mustard, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Callum Thorp.
Spinner Tahir was also hard to play and took four for 53, removing Dale Benkenstein, Liam Plunkett, Graham Onions and last man Paul Wiseman.
So Hampshire were set 240 for victory but they were soon in turmoil once more with Thorp this time terrorising the batting line-up, having James Adams lbw before adding Michael Lumb and Chris Benham to his list of victims.
Davies chipped in by having Michael Carberry caught behind, and Nic Pothas was fifth out at 77 to give spin-bowler Wiseman his first wicket of the innings before Ervine and Dawson made sure there were no more alarms.
Mark Davies' fine spell helped Durham battle back against Hampshire after they had been bowled out for just 156 at Basingstoke.
A total of 16 wickets fell on the opening day of the pivotal Division One clash at the May's Bounty Ground, which is staging its first county match in eight years.
Looking to boost their title hopes, Durham decided to bat first after winning the toss but were soon made to regret their decision as they were shot out in just 56.1 overs.
Home skipper Dmitri Mascarenhas did the majority of the damage, making good use of the swinging conditions to claim 5-46.
Will Smith offered the only real resistance for the visitors, who started the day just 10 points behind leaders Somerset with a game in hand, the number three scoring a patient 70.
However struggling Hampshire soon found life just as tough when it came to their turn to bat, Davies matching Mascarenhas' efforts to claim 5-24 in just 10.3 overs as the home team closed on 65-6.
The 27-year-old seamer ended an opening stand of 48 when he trapped Michael Carberry lbw and then one run later had Jimmy Adams caught in the gully by Liam Plunkett.
Even worse was to come for the Hawks when they lost four wickets with the score on 65, Davies picking up three while spinner Paul Wiseman claimed the other, Michael Lumb offering a gentle catch to Michael Di Venuto.