Riki Wessels’ century put a major dent in Hampshire’s hopes of escaping the drop after day one of the Championship clash at Nottinghamshire.
The Australian-born batsman scored 104 as Notts made 340 after being put in, with Fidel Edwards returning figures of six for 88 as Hampshire fought hard to preserve their First Division status.
There was just time for one over to be squeezed in at the end of the day and Hampshire’s nightwatchman Ryan Stevenson edged the first ball from Stuart Broad through to Chris Read to leave the innings on nought for one at stumps.
With the home side battling to try to pip Middlesex for second place in the table and Hampshire desperate for the win, the toss was crucial and the visitors struck early after winning it.
Edwards produced a lively opening burst that brought him three wickets inside his first five overs to leave the home side in early trouble at 39 for three.
But Wessels and Steven Mullaney led the Nottinghamshire fightback, adding 115 between them either side of lunch.
Hampshire missed one opportunity to part them as a regulation nick from Mullaney was grassed by Sean Ervine at first slip, off Edwards.
The reprieved batsman was on 52 at the time but only made six more before being bowled as he tried to whip Liam Dawson’s off spin to leg.
Billy Root – brother of England man Joe – began confidently on his county debut, forcing the ball to the ropes on six occasions in his 37.
But he was removed by Gareth Berg thanks to an edge that was smartly taken by Ervine, who responded to the ball rebounding out of James Vince’s hand at second slip.
Straight after tea, Wessels he tamely clipped Ervine to midwicket – one of three wickets to fall for just 11 runs – but Broad and with Broad and Brett Hutton then took the total beyond 300 in a partnership of 74.
Edwards then celebrated his best return for Hampshire but the visitors already look like facing an uphill battle in their attempts to earn the win they require.