Hashim Amla was 14 runs away from yet another hundred as he fought to keep Hampshire in the game against Somerset in the County Championship.
He ended day three of the match on 86, consolidating his position as the top run-scorer in Division One of the championship with 471 runs from nine innings, which included a century in a losing cause against Nottinghamshire last time out.
His four in the first innings of this match was his only single-figure ‘failure’, but he made up for that with a fighting stand with James Vince. They put on 139 as Hampshire sought to negate Somerset’s innings of 506, which had given them a lead of 275. Still, Hampshire trail by 97.
Amla’s 471 championship runs, almost 50 ahead of second-placed Ollie Pope of Surrey, have included four fifties and a hundred, at an average of almost 59.
He has been signed for the first three months of the county season before he returns to South Africa to prepare for the tour to Sri Lanka in July.
Elsewhere, Marchant de Lange went into T20 mode with the bat, slamming an amazing 90 off 45 balls with five fours and eight sixes as Glamorgan chased 251 to win against Leicestershire. They fell three runs short when De Lange was last out.
But, when they were 139-8, it was do-or-die, and De Lange proved that fortune favours the brave. It was a good match for the Knights’ bowling spearhead, who signed as a local player because his wife has a British passport, and also took six wickets in the match.
Former Proteas off-spinner Simon Harmer got back into the swing with another five-for for Essex, which helped to beat Worcestershire by 32 runs. He picked up five in an innings against Lancashire in the first match of the series.
Worcestershire were bundled out for 182 chasing 215. Harmer, who was by some way the best spinner in England last season as Essex won the championship, took 5-43 at just 2.03 an over.