Contrasting centuries from James Vince and Tom Alsop saw Hampshire establish a dominant position in their LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire at the UptonSteel County Ground, Grace Road.
Hampshire skipper Vince was all power and timing as he took full advantage of some wayward bowling from Leicestershire’s inexperienced seam attack, hitting 17 fours and two sixes in racing to three figures off just 81 balls.
Alsop, who had just reached his half-century when Vince came to the crease on the dismissal of Sam Northeast, was less fluent, 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.
Vince, however, remained unbeaten, reaching his 150 off 140 deliveries before closing on 168 not out. It is the sixth time he has made a score of 150 or more in his first-class career.
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 – Leicestershire 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.
Captain James Vince made the third double century of his first-class career as Hampshire continued to dominate their LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire.
Vince received fine support from Liam Dawson, who made an unbeaten 152 before the visitors declared, leaving the Foxes needing 463 simply to avoid the follow-on.
That prospect looked even more unlikely when Hampshire’s seamers picked up four wickets before the close. Kyle Abbott made an early breakthrough, pinning Sam Evans leg before having Hassan Azad caught by Dawson at second slip.
Harry Dearden looked in good touch before edging a catch behind off Brad Wheal, and Mohammad Abbas, formerly of Leicestershire, had Lewis Hill caught at second slip during a spell of five consecutive maidens as Hampshire turned the screw.
Resuming on his overnight score of 168, made from 167 deliveries faced, Vince continued to score freely, particularly through the offside, as Leicestershire’s bowlers once again failed to maintain a consistent line and length.
Vince’s 200 came up off 195 balls and included 32 fours and two sixes, and he looked certain to pass his previous first-class career best score of 240 (made against Essex) when he tried to help an innocuous leg-side delivery from left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson down to the fine leg boundary and got a thin edge into the gloves of wicket-keeper Harry Swindells.
It was Parkinson’s only reward of the innings, and came the ball after he had seen Dawson badly dropped off his bowling by Dearden on the midwicket boundary.
It was an expensive miss, as Dawson, who was on 101 at the time, raced on past 150 before Vince called his batsmen in on 612, the county’s highest score against Leicestershire, comfortably surpassing the 548-8 declared made at Southampton in 1927.
Leicestershire captain Colin Ackermann and Harry Swindells fought hard in the evening session to put together an unbroken partnership of 70 for the Foxes' fifth wicket , but a three day win for the visitors remains a distinct possibility.
Hampshire took 14 wickets in the day as they closed in on a comprehensive innings victory in their opening LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire.
It took the visitors only 80 minutes to wrap up the Leicestershire first innings after the Foxes resumed on 151-4.
The rout started with the second ball of the day, when non-striker Colin Ackermann, who had shared a partnership of 68 for the fourth wicket with Harry Swindells, was called through for a quick single and was well short of his ground when James Vince’s throw hit the stumps.
Swindells went on to make a career-best 59 but fell to leg-spinner Mason Crane, who found good turn to pick up 3-11 in his spell.
Leicestershire’s second innings followed a similar pattern, though Harry Dearden hit some fine off-side drives in going to 62 and Lewis Hill battled hard in making 65.
Crane was again amongst the wickets, dismissing Dearden, Swindells and Ben Mike, but Leicestershire’s stubborn late resistance ensured play would go into a fourth day.
Hampshire took just 30 minutes to take the two wickets they needed to complete a comprehensive innings victory in their opening LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire.
Kyle Abbott pinned Gavin Griffiths leg before wicket for 16 before Mohammad Abbas, formerly of Leicestershire, bowled Alex Evans for 2, leaving Chris Wright unbeaten on 31.