Hampshire’s hopes of building on their positive start to the Championship campaign were hit by the weather after just two hours of play were possible on day two of their clash with Surrey.
Resuming on their overnight score of 153 for two, the home side cruised along in confident style in a productive morning session to reach lunch at 289 for three with James Vince unbeaten on 118 – his second century of the campaign.
But with Hampshire looking to post an imposing total, a fierce rain shower left the Ageas Bowl outfield saturated with the game already appearing to be destined for a draw at the midway point of the contest.
Skipper Jimmy Adams was keen to build on his 56 not out but made slow progress before he became the only batsman to fall, edging Zafar Ansari to Graeme Smith at first slip to end a partnership of 120.
But Vince made the most of an extra life when he was dropped in the slips on 44 and used it as a catalyst to accelerate his innings.
Timing the ball with effotless ease, he moved through the gears with trademark style.
It also helped that Surrey’s bowlers often had their radar switched off with England’s t20 specialist Jade Dernbach, in particular, struggling to find accuracy or consistency.
His figures of nought for 49 from 16 overs will not improve his hopes of muscling his way into Test cricket.
Dernbach was not alone and a young Surrey attack simply didn’t put the batsmen under enough pressure, allowing too many easy scoring opportunities.
Vince, meanwhile, did not need asking twice to pepper the boundary and he went on to reach three figures in 102 balls as he hit 15 fours.
It underlines the kind of start to a season that can fire someone into the international reckoning.
His celebration was typically understated, although perhaps it suggests that he now expects to score big runs, rather than being delighted when he does.
Whether England will come calling for a player of considerable talent, remains to be seen.
Most believe the 23-year-old Hampshire batsman will eventually play international cricket – it’s just a matter of when.
But if his name is in the frame for this summer under new England coach Peter Moores revamped regime, Vince is certainly doing his bit by showing some serious form at the start of the campaign, when batting conditions are notoriously difficult.
The real shame was that he was unable to go on and continue his dominance after the lunch break after the rain intervened.