HAMPSHIRE duo Sean Ervine and Chris Wood struck half-centuries as the hosts reached 301 all-out on an entertaining opening day of their friendly with Kent.
The Ageas Bowl side made a decent start to proceedings with new-look opening partnership Jimmy Adams (22) and Liam Dawson (32) combining to good effect.
But the frustrated pairing were left to ponder what might have been when they surrendered their wickets in quick succession yesterday morning.
Nevertheless, the home side rallied soon after with Will Smith and Ervine combining to send Hampshire into lunch on 86-2.
But, having enjoyed the better of the day’s play up until the interval, Dale Benkenstein’s men then fell victim to a rejuvenated Kent bowling attack.
Six Hampshire wickets fell before tea, as Smith, unbeaten on 20 runs before lunch, swiftly returned to the clubhouse without adding to his score.
Kent spinner Adam Riley was the pick of the visitors’ bowlers, contributing to the dismissals of Adam Wheater (seven), Tom Alsop (13) and Danny Briggs (53).
All-rounder Ervine continued the fight, though, and alongside Gareth Berg steered Hampshire past the 200 mark.
But, a short while later, impressive pairing Ervine (70) and Berg (39) both succumbed as the hosts slipped to 237-8 before tea.
Kent bowler Matt Coles – released by Hampshire in the summer –was rested for the first two sessions due to a back niggle.
But he bowled Jackson Bird (five) on his Ageas Bowl return, before the home side’s tail wagged.
An inspired Wood (53) – ably supported by James Tomlinson (12 not out) – was not to be denied in his quest to lead his side past the 300-barrier as the hosts rallied superbly to finish on 301 all-out.
The evening session then represented Australia international Bird’s first opportunity to show Hampshire supporters his ability with ball in hand.
But the fast bowler– like his new team-mates – was unable to unsettle Kent’s opening partnership of Daniel Bell-Drummond (34 not out) and Joe Denly (29 not out) as the visitors reached reached 73-0 at stumps on day one.