DAY 3 Close: Northants 161 & 200-5 require another 171 to beat Gloucestershire 294 & 237
The match ended tantalisingly poised at the end of day three at Northampton after an exciting days cricket in which 14 wickets fell and leaves both sides vying for victory.
It was a surprise that play was possible at all given some forecasts, but play went ahead and ended with Northants requiring a further 171 with five wickets remaining.
The Shire were bowled out for 237 in their second innings, failing to build on their overnight 105-1 and post a big target. This was again a failure of batsman to build partnerships - the situation did need not require a big hundred, a few partnerships of 50 or 60 would have secured an unassailable lead.
The chase for a first championship win since 1st September 2007 has been severely hampered by injuries. Alex Gidman was clearly in no fit state to bat, and Ian Saxelby was wheeled out at number 11 - both players would have been expected to contribute significantly. Chris Taylor's 55 was not supported and Glos would have been disappointed to have only posted 370 - around 80 runs short of what they would have been aiming for to almost put a defeat beyond them.
As it is, a defeat is well untruly a possibility as a wonderfully composed partnership of 98 between Andrew Hall (50*) and David Willey (43*) has brought Northants back into the match.
While the close halted a Glos charge last night, the same event this evening will have come as a welcome break for the Shire who had Saxelby and James Franklin unavailable to bowl all afternoon, meaning the part-time seam of Hamish Marshall and Kadir Ali was called upon.
Even though hampered, Glos reduced Nothants to 102-5 and seemingly cruising to victory, but this latest partnership has pressurised the weakened attack and tomorrow could see the game swing either way.