Hampshire proved they are a bit more than a one-man team as they enjoyed the upper hand on day one of their Championship division two clash with Derbyshire.
While James Vince has deservedly taken many of the plaudits for his outstanding start to the season, it was heartening to know that when he doesn’t fire, someone else is able to step up to continue the team’s bright start to the four-day campaign.
Instead of Vince, it was Adam Wheater (87), Will Smith (82) and Jimmy Adams (60) who all made significant contributions, which took the home side to 332 for seven at stumps.
And Adams would certainly have taken that situation at the end of day one having lost the toss and been put into bat by opposite number Wayne Madsen.
It was Adams who led the way in a fine opening stand with Smith as the duo reached lunch with their wickets intact and the score at 110.
But when Adams was trapped lbw by Tony Palladino (four for 83) with the first ball after lunch, the scoreboard looked rather less appetising for home supporters at 118 for three after Vince (four) and Joe Gatting (four) also both fell in Palladino’s bright spell.
Smith, who looks perfectly at home opening the innings in the absence of Michael Carberry, continued in his usual unflappable style and joined by Wheater, the pair put on 109.
Again it was Palladino who made the breakthrough but Sean Ervine (47) also looked in good touch, cracking five fours and one six to keep the scoreboard ticking over until Wheater fell just 13 runs of a century, when he was caught in the covers.
But the Zimbabwean looked set to continue his ominous form until he was bowled off an inside edge to become one of two wickets for Tim Groenewald.
Michael Bates (27 not out) added some useful runs late in the day and Hampshire will be looking to go at least beyond 350 on day two to secure a fourth batting point, having already got three in the bank.
If their bowlers can then back up a solid effort from the batsmen, they will be in a position to exert some serious pressure.