Jimmy Adams fell nine runs shy of a century as Hampshire closed on 292 for nine on day one of their Championship division two clash with Kent.
The skipper, who has been short of runs lately, stormed back to form in style and was the pick of the Hampshire batsmen with his 191-ball knock for an impressive 91.
The recalled James Vince (four) - who came in for the injured Neil McKenzie - failed to make the most of his opportunity as he was the first man to fall. And the dismissal of Bilal Shafayat (nought) left the home side in serious trouble at nine for two in the third over.
But Adams and Simon Katich (32) led the fightback as they put on a stand of 58, before Liam Dawson (51) joined the captain for the most profitable partnership of the innings - adding 116 - until Adams was dismissed just before tea.
Dawson followed soon after completing his half-century. And while Dimi Mascarenhas (27) and David Balcombe (28) got the home side closer to the 300-mark, Charlie Shreck (three for 85) put the brakes on their progress to leave the game evenly-poised heading into day two.