SEAN ERVINE’s unbeaten knock of 75 gave Hampshire control on day one of their County Championship encounter against Kent at Canterbury.
With both sides chasing promotion, the visitors won the toss and opted to bat.
Michael Carberry (39), Jimmy Adams (30) and Will Smith (56) all made starts.
Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Claydon both returned figures of 2-62 from 21 overs to keep Kent in the hunt.
Hampshire were 4-187 after 59.5 overs but Liam Dawson and Adam Wheater kept the scoreboard ticking over, adding 36 and 15 runs respectively to push the score past the 200 mark.
A 124-run seventh-wicket partnership between Ervine and Chris Wood (61) then put Hampshire in a decent position on the opening day at The Spitfire Ground.
Their partnership helped their side close on a healthy 343-7 after 96 overs.
Zimbabwean Ervine, who has reached his half-century three times this season in first-class cricket but has yet to convert one into three figures, hit nine fours in his unbeaten knock.
Sam Billings took four catches behind the stumps, while promising off-spinner Adam Riley had Carberry and Smith lbw to take his seasonal tally to 35 wickets.
It is a promising start for Dale Benkenstein’s men, who had to get over the disappointment of going out of the Royal London One-Day Cup earlier this week.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Chris Wood has signed a one-year contract extension at the club which takes him through until the end of the 2016 season.
The 24-year-old was due to become a free agent next season but Hampshire were keen to tie up a deal.
Wood, a product of the Hampshire Academy, made his county debut in 2009 and has since made more than 160 appearances.
Wood joins Carberry, Wheater and Liam Dawson, who have all committed their futures to the county this summer.