Sales makes the most of truncated day

David Sales made an unbeaten 66 in Northants' second innings
David Sales made an unbeaten 66 in Northants' second innings

David Sales hit an unbeaten 66 as LV= County Championship promotion hopefuls Northamptonshire had to be content with a rain-affected draw against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Sales struck 11 boundaries before both sides decided there was little point in continuing a lost cause as second-placed Northants could only reduce the deficit on Division Two leaders Lancashire to 25 points.

After most of the morning session had been lost to rain, Hampshire resumed on 515-9, a lead of 77, but with little hope of forcing only their third win of the season.

Last pair David Balcombe and James Tomlinson put on 30 for the last wicket, with the former striking a six and four fours in his unbeaten 30.

The partnership finally ended with Hampshire on 545 when Tomlinson was caught in the slips by Stephen Peters to give Azharullah his third wicket of the innings.

Hampshire were left with a first innings lead of 107 and Northamptonshire lost three wickets before knocking off the arrears,

James Middlebrook was the first to go when Liam Dawson held a catch at slip off Balcombe to depart for seven but that was as good as it got for Hampshire.

Dawson claimed his second wicket of the innings when Northants captain Peters (40) gave a return catch.

Alex Wakely was also caught at slip by Dawson to give occasional bowler Neil McKenzie a rare wicket.

But Sales, who faced 137 balls, and first-innings centurion Rob Keogh made sure there were no further alarms and took the score to 135-3, a lead of 28, before the draw was called.

Even without the weather the match was already heading for a draw after only 19 wickets fell over the opening three days on a placid, easy-paced wicket.