Nick Gubbins and James Vince shared a record third wicket partnership for Hampshire after Northamptonshire won the toss and elected to bowl on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Wantage Road.
The pair put on 198 runs with Gubbins, out shortly before the close, making 125 off 249 deliveries with 15 boundaries, while Vince finished the day unbeaten on 104, Hampshire closing on 287 for four.
Gubbins flew almost under the radar at first as Organ looked unsettled by early movement. But he batted with calm assurance from the get-go, playing fluently all around the wicket, stroking the ball across the field rather than taking the aerial route.
Vince cashed in on his luck, surviving a strong LBW shout early in this innings, a dropped catch and an inside edge that came perilously close to leg stump. However even if less fluent than his partner, he played positively for his ton, reaching three figures with a late cut to the boundary ropes.
Northamptonshire’s hopes were raised early on when seamer Jack White struck in the second over of the day, but from then on, the home attack were made to toil largely in vain. They maintained a disciplined line but runs looked increasingly easy to come by as the day wore on. The late wicket of Gubbins was just reward for White who was the pick of the bowlers.
White had seemed to justify skipper Luke Procter’s decision to put Hampshire into bat on a sunny but windy morning when he enticed the edge from Fletcha Middleton who drove at one outside off-stump and was well caught at slip by Gareth Berg.
Felix Organ, who lived a charmed life against White, offered a series of edges which kept the slips interested. The mistakes did not prove too costly however as Berg atoned for his earlier misses with ball in hand when he had Organ caught behind for 38.
Gubbins opted to keep things simple at the other end. He played a sweetly timed drive down the ground off Berg for four before playing the same bowler through the covers for another boundary. He was fluent on the legside too, whipping White behind square to take Hampshire into three figures, before dispatching Sanderson in similar fashion to bring up his half-century off 114 balls.
Meanwhile Vince twice clipped White through the legside to the ropes before he too was the lucky beneficiary of Northamptonshire’s jitters. He attempted to hook a well-directed short ball from Chris Tremain only to pick out Ben Sanderson, the man placed for the shot at fine leg, who put down the high ball.
Vince began the evening session positively taking two boundaries off the first over bowled by Sanderson, punching through the covers and playing through midwicket as Northamptonshire passed 200 in the 69th over. On 69 Vince survived a second confident shout of his innings, before sweeping the spinner behind square for four off the next delivery.
Gubbins reached his fourth century since joining Hampshire from Middlesex two years ago before he fell to a stunning diving catch at first slip by Ricardo Vasconcelos.
With light fading, James Fuller came in as nightwatchman and proceeded to play his shots, hacking Sanderson into the sight screen for six before the Northamptonshire seamer clean bowled him for 16.
With bad light calling an early halt to proceedings, Vince finished the day on 104 not out from 183 balls with 13 boundaries.