Ashwell Prince scored a cautious fifty to secure a batting bonus point for Notts but Imran Tahir’s run of four wickets in 24 balls loosened the leaders’ grip on the game.

After an expensive start, Hampshire spinner Tahir devastated Notts with a rich spell to justify the lengths taken to make him available for selection. Tahir bowled both Andre Adams and Darren Pattinson for nought, had Mark Ealham lbw and saw Graeme Swann caught behind by Nic Pothas.

Chris Tremlett deflected Prince’s lofted off-drive over the boundary for four to take Notts beyond 200 but with Charlie Shreck alongside him, Prince was caught by Michael Carberry in the next over as Notts posted 211 to take an eight run lead.

Samit Patel scored 70 from 71 balls, putting on 166 invaluable runs for the fourth wicket alongside Prince following the early losses of Bilal Shafayat (0), Mark Wagh (29) and Will Jefferson (26).

“We were in a nice position before we lost wickets mid-afternoon and it means that we need to find another way to win the game,” said Notts Director of Cricket Mick Newell.

“It’s looking like we’ll have a two-hundred-plus chase and it’s important that the majority of the runs come from the top five when we bat.

“We can’t rely on the tail to score runs when they are facing quality wrist spin because they aren’t used to facing the types of delivery that Tahis is producing.

“The wicket isn’t deteriorating as people expected that it might so we’ll stay positive and there’s certainly no panic. It’s a great game to be involved in and we still have a chance to put the match away and win a trophy.”

Michael Brown (51) and Michael Lumb (25) will resume for Hampshire on 102-1 on day three after Michael Carberry was caught behind off Andre Adams.