Brett Hutton played a starring role as Northamptonshire dominated Gloucestershire on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol.
The former Nottinghamshire seamer claimed 4-65 as the hosts were shot out for 125 inside 55 overs on a day in which 35 overs were lost to bad light or rain.
Fellow new ball bowler Ben Sanderson weighed in with 2-16, while Nathan Buck took 3-32 to fully justify Alex Wakely’s decision to field on a green-tinged pitch beneath heavy cloud cover.
Eight of those dismissed were caught behind the wicket on a wretched day for batting as tail-enders David Payne and Craig Miles emerged as Gloucestershire’s highest scorers.
Pressed into service as a nightwatchman, Hutton fell LBW to Payne as Northamptonshire, required to negotiate two overs at the end of the day, reached the close on 4-1.
A model of consistency since joining Northamptonshire from Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire-born Hutton made the most of bowler-friendly conditions, extracting movement off the pitch to rip the heart out of Gloucestershire’s top and middle-order batting.
His initial intervention came in the second over of the day, left-handed opener Miles Hammond pushing tentatively at a ball outside off stump and edging behind to Adam Rossington without scoring to set the tone for what was to follow.
Hutton returned to the attack from the Ashley Down Road End after lunch, taking three wickets in 22 balls in a devastating burst which further reduced the hosts to 68-8. Having negotiated best part of two hours and 78 balls, obdurate Chris Dent finally surrendered his wicket for 15, edging a length ball from Hutton to third slip.
He then accounted for Ben Charlesworth and Ryan Higgins in rapid succession, having both caught behind, the latter via a top edge, to confirm East Midlands supremacy.
Fellow Yorkshireman Sanderson was also rewarded for bowling a consistent line and length, the 29-year-old taking 2-16 to further erode the top order. James Bracey was squared up in offering a catch behind, while Benny Howell could only edge a late in-swinger to Richard Levi at third slip.
Ian Cockbain’ was trapped LBW in the crease for a duck by Buck, while Levi again demonstrated safe hands when Ben Cotton located Jack Taylor’s outside edge as Gloucestershire limped to 57-5 at lunch.
Ball continued to beat bat with alarming regularity and Miles decided attack was the best form of defence, the Warwickshire-bound bowler helping himself to five boundaries in staging a valuable stand of 33 for the ninth wicket with Payne.
Buck wrapped up the innings, bowling Miles for 23 and then having last man Matt Taylor caught in the slips for nine, leaving Payne unbeaten on 23.