DORSET are facing an uphill task in their quest to win their final Western Division match of the season after Oxfordshire seized the initiative on day two at Dean Park on Monday.

After seeing Oxon compile a first innings lead of 79, Dorset closed a rain-interrupted day on 156 for six - an advantage of just 77 - although Richard Pineo is unlikely to bat for the hosts.

The paceman sustained a badly sprained left ankle when he fell awkwardly at the start of his 17th over and had to be carried from the pitch just after play had got underway at 2.20pm.

And as Pineo hobbled away from the ground just before stumps were drawn at 7.50pm last night, he said his chances of featuring in the Dorset reply were slim.

At the close, Tom Hicks (37) and Dan Belt (26) were the unbeaten Dorset batsman, the duo coming together to steady the ship with an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 57.

Resuming at 182 for six, Oxfordshire breezed past Dorset's first innings total of 228 thanks to an impressive seventh-wicket partnership of 83 between Jamie Hewitt and Stuart Hole.

The stand was eventually broken when Hole was stumped by Tim Lamb off Hicks for 44 before Hewitt soon followed for 57.

However, the tail continued to add vital runs with Phillip Evans chipping in with 21 as the visitors were dismissed for 307 - the final four wickets adding 133.

Dorset made the worst possible start to their second innings, losing openers Glyn Treagus and Neil Thurgood without a run on the board.

Treagus was trapped in front by the second ball of Hewitt's opening over, while his Bashley team-mate suffered the same fate off the first ball of Keith Arnold's first over.

And Dorset slumped to 11 for three after Ben Lawes became the 10th victim of the match to perish leg before when he was snared by Arnold before Darren Cowley was unlucky to be given out caught behind by Ian Hawtin when the ball appeared to brush his pad. Cowley's departure brought together Steve Selwood and Tim Lamb and although the pair looked comfortable against the Oxon attack, they both eventually went for 30, leaving Hicks and Belt undefeated overnight.