Steven Mullaney marked his Nottinghamshire LV= County Championship debut with an unbeaten century to establish a slim first innings lead but Hampshire’s patient scoring rate in the second innings has made a draw the most likely result.

Sat on 177-4 overnight, Hampshire, understandably keen to end their five match losing streak in all competitions, have enough batting left to avoid defeat and didn’t seem prepared to setup a declaration given their approach on day three.

“Hampshire won’t be in an especially confident frame of mind having lost their opening matches so a draw would represent a reasonable return for them and that’s the most likely outcome now,” said Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell.

“We bowled with good control and Samit’s spin was useful at one end with the seamers chipping away at the other.

“We’ll take the new ball after the first over tomorrow and the first hour will be key for us if we are to push for a result.”

Mullaney’s 100 was the undoubted highlight of the day for Newell and the ambitious all-rounder would have had more to celebrate but for dropped catches at slip and short extra cover off his bowling.

“Steven played the situation very well considering the trouble we were in when he came to the crease,” said Newell.

“There was a danger that he going to run out of partners but Charlie Shreck hung around for long enough for him to reach his hundred and he can be pleased with his contribution.”