McLaren shines to force Ball into the shadows
Ryan McLaren produced a wicked spell of three for 17 to put Hampshire well on top against Nottinghamshire '“ as Jake Ball toiled.
The focus before play was on Ball, who has been selected for England’s second Test against Sri Lanka.
But after an excellent day one, the seamer was put into the shadows by the metronomic McLaren.
The South African struck for the first time with the first ball of his second spell, after replacing Tino Best from the Pavilion End.
He drew an edge out of former Hants batsman Michael Lumb, before Jimmy Adams leapt forward to hold on at first slip.
McLaren grabbed his second soon after when he managed to kiss the side of Brendan Taylor’s bat, completed with another good catch – this time from wicketkeeper Adam Wheater.
He then completed his trio of scalps by pushing Samit Patel onto his back foot and wafting away from his body, producing another solid snatch from Will Smith.
Even before his bowling heroics, McLaren was the centre of attention, after a stunning two-handed full-length catch at gully to see off Steven Mullaney – just the third delivery of the innings.
Another quality piece of fielding followed as Michael Carberry picked up and threw at one stump to run out Jake Libby.
An almost perfect day for the struggling county was tainted by Sean Ervine having to leave the pitch for treatment on his wrist.
Earlier, Ball wasted his chance to further enhance his reputation.
His dangerous swingers had been replaced by wides as Hampshire pulled towards a competitive total.
Tom Alsop notched his maiden Specsavers County Championship half century from 82 balls.
He had put on an innings-saving 72 with Ervine, before the Zimbabwean was clean bowled by Luke Fletcher.
Adam Wheater continued the revival, with a watchful 19, to add a stand of 43, but walked off after tickling an inside edge to Chris Read.
Alsop finally departed for a well-crafted mature 72 as Harry Gurney pinched the second of four tailend wickets, caught behind by Chris Read.
McLaren and Best soon joined him back in the dressing room.
But Mason Crane and James Tomlinson frustrated Notts with a 35-run 11th wicket stand, until the former skied straight up to Read.