James Vince and Tom Alsop hit contrasting centuries as Hampshire lift curtain on 2021 Championship season with run-fest at Leicestershire
Contrasting centuries from James Vince and Tom Alsop saw Hampshire establish a dominant position in their LV=Insurance County Championship Group 2 curtain-raiser against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Hampshire skipper Vince was all power and timing as he took full advantage of some wayward bowling from an inexperienced seam attack, hitting 17 fours and two sixes in racing to three figures off just 81 balls as the visitors piled up 431-4.
It was his 26th first class hundred, and also his fastest, writes RICHARD RAE.
Alsop, who had just reached his half-century when Vince came to the crease on the dismissal of Sam Northeast, was less fluent on his way to a third first class hundred in 82 innings spanning 50 matches. But while his century came off 153 deliveries (and included 17 fours), it was no less valuable to his side.
Together the pair added 224 for the fourth wicket before Alsop got a leading edge trying to turn a delivery from Alex Evans into the legside and was caught at point.
The stand was just short of Hampshire’s third wicket record against the Running Foxes of 250 unbroken between Vince (147 not out) and Dawson (136 not out) eight years ago at Grace Road.
Vince passed that score when he reached his 150 off 140 deliveries before closing on 168 not out.
The skipper is playing his first first class match since the last game of Hampshire’s 2019 Championship campaign. Bearing in mind he ended that season with scores of 142 (v Somerset) and 7 not out (v Kent), he has now scored 317 runs in has last three first class innings.
His current score is the fourth highest of his career, but still some way short of his record 240 against Essex in 2014.
It was during that innings that Vince had hit his previous fastest century - moving from 100 to 200 in just 99 deliveries (his first 100 had occupied just 101 balls)
Vince started the day as well as he ended it, winning the toss and choosing to bat first on a slightly drier pitch than might normally have been expected for the time of year – both sides have two spinners in their side.
Ian Holland was the first man dismissed, edging a Chris Wright outswinger to wicket-keeper Harry Swindells. But Joe Weatherley looked in good order, stroking seven fours in going to 41 before top-edging a pull at a short delivery from Gavin Griffiths and skying a catch to Swindells.
Northeast was dismissed shortly after lunch, leg before to Wright to make the score 127-3, and Vince edged his first ball from Wright towards Leicestershire skipper Colin Ackermann at second slip.
It dropped an inch short, and that was as close as the Foxes came to dismissing the England international: from that moment on, he was in complete control.