James Vince struck his first half-century of the Championship season as Hampshire finally showed some form on day one of their clash at Sussex.
The vice-captain has been short of runs in the four-day game so far this term but reached stumps 52 not out as Hampshire closed on 116 for four in reply to the home side’s 251 all out.
Gareth Berg (four for 67) and debutant Jackson Bird (three for 69) picked up the wickets but it might have been even better for Jimmy Adams’ side at Hove.
An aggressive fifth-wicket stand of 115 in 24 overs between Luke Wright (59) and Chris Nash (48) gave the Hove outfit some impetus but Hampshire now have a great opportunity for a first-innings lead – especially if Vince can continue in similar fashion on day two.
South African-born former Middlesex seamer Berg took three for 24 in the morning session to check Sussex from 47 without loss to 87 for four.
Berg later picked up a further wicket as the home team slumped from 202 for four following the Wright-Nash counter-attack.
Hampshire, bottom of the first division and the only county yet to record a Championship victory this season, were then guilty of bowling too short, too often as Wright and Nash rallied.
After Vince had accounted for Nash – thanks to a catch in the deep, Wright then fell to Danny Briggs and Hampshire worked their way through the lower order.
Hampshire’s reply got off to an unfortunate start when Adams (11), backing up, was run out when a fierce straight drive from the recalled Sean Terry was deflected into the stumps at the bowler’s end.
Terry, dropped at second slip off Matt Hobden on 20, played some fine strokes to get to 30 before he edged to third slip.
Michael Carberry (14) also edged behind, Will Smith (seven) then departed but Vince batted with positive intent.