Liam Dawson justified manager Giles White’s decision to move him down the batting order as he clocked his first century of the season on a rain-affected day three at Tunbridge Wells.
Adding 89 to his overnight total, the 22-year-old finished day three of Hampshire’s County Championship division two clash with Kent on 111 not out, with the visitors closing the day on 229 for six.
Dawson had opened the batting alongside captain Jimmy Adams all season.
But with a top score of just 35 before the trip to Kent and an average of 16.75, he was taken out of the firing line, with Michael Carberry handed his place at the top of the order.
That decision paid immediate dividends for the all-rounder, though, as he thrived under the pressure of the home side’s bowling attack.
The left-hander had to wait until 4pm to build on Hampshire’s overnight total of 90 for three.
After four inspections, play finally got under way late in the afternoon – almost 47 hours since Kent had taken Hampshire’s third wicket (Adams) on Wednesday evening.
Despite heavy overnight rain and the square having sweated under the covers, the pitch revealed nothing untoward when play finally resumed, and Simon Katich and Dawson suffered no alarms in reaching their respective half-centuries.
Australian left-hander Katich reached the milestone first from 99 balls.
Dawson passed the landmark from 117 balls – soon after clubbing a four and a six from James Tredwell’s first three balls of the game.
Tredwell enjoyed a measure of revenge, however.
With the Hampshire score on 136, Katich padded up to an arm ball to go lbw for 54.
Three overs later, Sean Ervine, in looking to drive on the up against Matt Coles, dragged the ball on to his off stump and sloped off without scoring.
With his dander up, Coles bounced one in at Michael Bates to break the right-hander’s grille and snap off half a front tooth in the process.
The batsman changed his headgear and continued on gamely but, with his score on 30, he fenced at a Charlie Shreck leg-cutter and steered a comfortable catch to Tredwell at second slip.
It proved Kent’s last success of the day, but there was still time in a 44-over final session for Dawson to reach his hundred with a sweetly-timed boundary against Tredwell.
By stumps Dawson had reached 111, with Dimitri Mascarenhas unbeaten on six.