James Vince and Sean Ervine both scored centuries on day one of their final County Championship fixture of the season away to Glamorgan to sustain their chances of winning promotion to Division One.
Hampshire closed the opening day all out for 357 in Cardiff, but it could have been very different had Vince and Ervine not reached triple figures.
An early flurry of wickets for the hosts had the Royals rattled at 53-5, and with promotion rivals Essex skittling already-promoted Worcestershire for just 84, Jimmy Adams’ side
must have been aware that victory is vital in Wales.
Despite deciding to bat first, Hampshire really struggled against the new ball early on.
Will Smith (10) was the first man to go and was shortly followed back to the pavilion by his
replacement, Liam Dawson, who failed to register a score and faced only three deliveries to provide Jim Allenby with two quick wickets.
Vince’s arrival at the crease did little to deter the collapse that was occurring around him. His captain then also fell for 10 before Thomas Allsop (1) and Adam Wheater (0) fell in consecutive deliveries to take Allenby’s haul to four.
But he was denied a hat-trick, which signalled a turning of the tide. Vince and Ervine gradually rebuilt the innings to help their side’s aspirations of returning to Division
One of the County Championship.
A 225-run partnership helped the side accumulate vital bonus batting points, before Vince was finally ousted for 144 after four and a half hours at the crease.
Ervine (107) was the next man to go, but by then the scoreboard was looking a lot healthier for Hampshire at 310-7.
Chris Wood made 35 and Imran Tahir an unbeaten 22 as they were eventually all out for 357. Glamorgan will begin their innings when play resumes tomorrow morning.
With a quarter of their final fixture so far fulfilled, Hampshire hold an eleven-point advantage over Essex, who look in a strong position to secure victory themselves at Chelmsford.
They bowled Worcestershire out for just 84 before racing along to 198-3 at the close of
play. The already-promoted sides’ total absence of any batting points means that they still require four points to guarantee going up as champions,
However, with both Hampshire and Essex in the ascendency, it could go any way. What’s for sure is that the next three days in both Chelmsford and Cardiff are going to be