James Vince’s 186 guided Hampshire into a strong position against Northamptonshire on a stop-start second day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Wantage Road.
The Hampshire captain spent almost six and a half hours at the crease, sharing a century stand with Ben Brown for the sixth wicket and underpinning his side’s total of 482 for eight declared.
Vince’s seamers immediately capitalised on that advantage as Mohammad Abbas claimed the wicket of Ricardo Vasconcelos with the first ball of Northamptonshire’s reply.
A spell of three wickets in five deliveries – one for Kyle Abbott and two for James Fuller – left the hosts deep in trouble, with Abbas picking up another as they moved to 95 for five at stumps.
Vince, who resumed on 104 after an initial half-hour delay – the first of three stoppages due to rain – was quickly into his stride, steering Jack White through the slips for four to secure his team’s second batting bonus point.
At the other end, Ben Sanderson bowled with zip and guile for Northamptonshire, achieving a breakthrough in the third full over of the morning as Tom Prest edged him into the hands of second slip.
Brown, his replacement at the crease, was almost cut in half by another beauty from Sanderson and he rode his luck by surviving a very strong leg before appeal, as well as miscuing a pull off White that fell to safety.
Brown began to go for his shots and he and Vince appeared to be weighing up a dart towards 400 and a fourth bonus point prior to the cut-off, with 54 needed from 35 balls to get them there after lunch.
Despite eventually abandoning that pursuit, the pair put together a 125 partnership before Rob Keogh pinned Brown in front for 55.
Vince had no hesitation in using his feet to lift the spinner over the top and seemed on course to register a double hundred but he fell 14 short to former team-mate Gareth Berg, Tremain stretching to hold the catch above his head.
Liam Dawson and Ian Holland kept the scoreboard ticking over by adding a further 40 but, as soon as Dawson became Keogh’s second lbw victim, Hampshire pulled the plug on their innings.
That left Northamptonshire to face 43 overs and Abbas looked impatient to make inroads, his first delivery moving markedly off a length to trap Vasconcelos in front.
Hassan Azad – who at times employed a policy of dancing down the pitch to combat Abbas – and Sam Whiteman dug in for a stand of 47, with the latter keen to punish anything wide outside off stump.
But that solid foundation was blown away when Abbott had Azad given out lbw without a playing a shot and Fuller had Whiteman taken in the slips before Luke Procter appeared to lose a knee high full toss in fading light which disturbed his stumps two balls later.
Josh Cobb counter-attacked, slamming Abbas to the rope three times in his undefeated 28, but the paceman struck again by having Keogh caught behind before bad light eventually ended play.