Stumps, Day One: Hampshire 281/4 (Vince 143*) against Yorkshire
James Vince had a torrid summer in 2016.
Despite making his Test debut and playing all seven matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, his performance with the bat was unconvincing, high scoring with 42 and averaging just 19; his domestic form was not much better, passing fifty just four times in all formats.
2017, however, may be more positive. His 143* against Yorkshire – his first century in a year and two days, scored at Headingley – showed glimpses of both the quality that saw him selected for England and the technical pitfall that saw him omitted from their winter.
Early stages of his innings looked near carbon copies of his Test experience, edging through vacant slip positions and having an easy chance dropped on 39 by Adam Lyth at second.
A beauty of a cover drive while still in single figures set a benchmark for what he needed to do and although it took him a lot of time to look truly comfortable playing through the offside, he did gradually get better.
Throughout, Vince took a stance just outside off stump and it was largely beneficial, freeing himself up to hit well through leg too, pulling Ben Coad to the midwicket fence to bring up his half-century.
From there, he looked in full flow, smashing Tim Bresnan through cover point and then deftly late cutting him for his 11th four.
He struck just three more boundaries before reaching his century – including a wonderful straight drive having advanced to Adil Rashid – instead poking holes in the field and finessing his way towards three-figures.
Having gone to tea on 97*, he dispatched Joe Root to the cover boundary for his 19th first-class ton and third against the side he scored his maiden century.
Back-to-back boundaries off Rashid oozed confidence and by the time the players departed for bad light, Vince had found the rope 20 times.
The likelihood of a Test recall, given the extent of his struggles, are not especially high right now but if Vince can continue finding the rope and avoid finding second slip as the season goes on, it will become difficult to ignore the 26-year-old.
Yorkshire had started the day well, having not contested the toss and bowling on a very overcast morning at The Ageas Bowl.
Coad had looked dangerous, shaping the ball in to Hampshire’s two left-handed openers and although surviving did not appear too much an issue, scoring was: his first two spells, totalling eight overs before lunch, leaked just 16.
Michael Carberry, having batted so patiently last week, flashed hard at his ninth ball from Coad and was dismissed for six thanks to a good catch from Jonny Bairstow, diving to his left.
The 23-year-old picked up his second scalp first ball after lunch as he trapped Jimmy Adams, who was watchful for his 29, lbw.
It brought to the crease Tom Alsop, playing for the first time this season, and he immediately made a mark with two magnificent straight drives in his first three deliveries, eventually falling lbw for 40.
Sean Ervine looked set for a second half-century in a week having accompanied Vince after tea, hitting six fours – including two late cuts off Bresnan – but progressed to 48 rather unremarkably.
He got a probing delivery from Coad – his 21st wicket in just five Specsavers County Championship innings this season – with Bairstow taking a smart catch low to his left.
Late in the day, Liam Dawson passed 6,000 first-class runs with a flick through midwicket to the boundary, going in overnight on 8*, and he and Vince have a strong platform to kick on from tomorrow.