Two wickets in the last hour have given Sussex every chance of a first Championship win of the season today.

Hampshire will begin the final day at Hove today on 89-3, still needing another 196 runs to make it two wins out of two.

Chasing a target of 285, they had reached 74-1 when Mushtaq Ahmed came up trumps once again, luring Australian Simon Katich to his demise with a beautifully flighted leg break.

James Kirtley returned to the attack shortly afterwards and immediately had Jimmy Adams caught at backward square leg. Jason Lewry had broken through with the new ball in the eighth over when Michael Brown walked in front of his leg stump.

Hampshire bat long but Sussex will fancy their chances today if their bowlers can maintain the discipline they showed last night on a slow pitch where batsman have consistently found it difficult to time their shots.

Even a strokemaker like Chris Adams struggled, but if they do win they will be indebted to their skipper who played one of the most disciplined innings of his Sussex career.

Adams defied Shane Warne and the Hampshire attack for over four hours to make an undefeated 79 out of a total of 312. More importantly, in the context of a tight contest, he coaxed 111 runs out of the last four wickets.

Director of Cricket Peter Moores said: "Chris played really well. You can score runs but you have to be patient and he played a very responsible innings at a crucial time."

When Adams came in after Murray Goodwin had lost his off stump to Billy Taylor's nip-backer in the seventh over of the day, Chris Tremlett was in the middle of a high-quality spell which demanded the utmost skill and concentration on the part of Adams.

Sussex were restricted to 81 runs in the morning session, 20 of those coming in boundaries when Adams on Warne and hit him for five boundaries in two overs, including three off successive deliveries.

At the other end Ian Ward was strong off the back foot when the opportunity arose to attack and Sussex's most durable batsmen put on 73 in 32 overs for the fourth wicket.

They appeared to have tilted the balance Sussex's way, but Ward was caught behind trying to cut Katich's arm ball after labouring dilligently for over five hours for his 86, which included nine fours and a six.

Now it was Hampshire's turn to take control and it was no surprise that the irrepressible Warne led the way as Sussex lost three wickets in ten balls.

Matt Prior was deceived by a top-spinner, Robin Martin-Jenkins was pinned on his crease by a straight one and although Mark Davis averted the hat-trick he was out in the next over having a careless slash outside off stump at Taylor.

But the Sussex tail once again showed its resilience. Mushtaq can only bat one way and earned the biggest cheer of the day when he slog-swept Warne over the scoreboard for six. There were five more boundaries in a 39-ball cameo which brought him 36 out of an eighth wicket stand of 56.

Mushtaq went aiming one big drive too many but James Kirtley kept Adams company for another 13 overs while 45 valuable runs were put on for the ninth wicket and Adams passed 50 for the 73rd time in his career and 7,000 first-class runs for Sussex.

Warne will be on a hat-trick in his next match after removing Kirtley and Jason Lewry with successive balls, but that won't be much consolation if Sussex come out on top today.