Glamorgan have set up a potentiality trick final day chase for Northamptonshire, as Chris Cooke led a battling middle order display as the hosts avoided what looked like being a three day defeat.
When Colin Ingram was dismissed the over after lunch, the Welsh side were 137-5, only leading by 34, but Cooke’s 67, along with contributions throughout the rest of the order, including an entertaining cameo from Marchant de Lange took them up to 320, setting Northants 218 to win.
Glamorgan captain Michael Hogen removed Ben Duckett for 23 shortly before the close, as Northants reached 42-1, leaving a further 176 to win.
However on a pitch showing signs of spin and the odd delivery keeping low, it could prove a nervy chase, with the knowledge that only a win will keep their outside chances of promotion alive, and given a fragile middle order that collapsed in the first innings, Glamorgan will know early wickets will put them right in the game.
Having surrendered a first innings lead of 103, Glamorgan were still 40 adrift for the loss of Nick Selman on the second evening, but were quickly three down as Rory Kleinveldt struck in each of his opening two overs, Nick Murphy lbw before Jacques Rudolph drove to cover, having edged a no-ball to slip two balls earlier.
Northants’ seamers had leaked boundaries to allow the hosts a fast start to their innings, but bowled with much more control in the morning as Colin Ingram and Kiran Carlson battled.
Nine runs came from the first 12 overs of the day, with the pair not finding the boundary until nearly an hour into play, the 14th over.
The two frustrated the visitors for the majority of the rest of the morning, taking their side into the lead with a gritty stand that doubled the score from 68-3, but couldn’t make it to lunch as Carlson under edged a pull onto his stumps, having made 44.
When Ingram was also bowled by Azharullah the over after the interval Glamorgan were five down with the lead only 34, and many in the ground might have been making alternative Friday plans.
Cooke had other ideas however as his 69 formed the backbone of the hosts’ afternoon fightback, initially with Salter, whose first innings half century had done a similar job on Tuesday, playing the support act.
Playing positively, Cooke hit eight fours to bring up his half century in 68 balls as the lead went into three figures, before Rob Keogh’s first ball of the day saw Salter chop on for 19.
Craig Meschede surived a drop by Rob Newton at leg gully off Gleeson to add a further 36 either side of tea, until Cooke departed, edging Kerrigan behind.
De Lange launched Keogh and Kerrigan for sixes in consecutive overs, and the new ball couldn’t stop his onslaught, pulling Kleinveldt for four then six to move to his highest score for Glamorgan, a 50 stand for the eighth wicket in eight overs.
The fun ended when Gleeson bowled him, but his run a ball 39 took Glamorgan to the brink of a 200 lead, before a last wicket stand of 19, Gleeson removing Meschede lbw for 34 to finish with 3-71 after his five in the first innings, Kleinveldt also claiming three.
De Lange could have removed Duckett with his first ball, and the seventh delivery of the innings, with a tough return catch, coming high in his follow through, but he got his hand up only for it not to stick.
Despite a slightly edgy start, Duckett and Newton looked to have got through the 13 overs left in the day, only for Hogan to get the former, strangled down the leg side, having hit him on the arm earlier in the over.
Newton ended the day on 15 alongside nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan, with all still to play for on the final day.