Adams five gives Nottinghamshire control
Nottinghamshire 6 for 0 v Hampshire 218
Nottinghamshire's 2010 title owed much to their flying start, which saw them win their first four Championship matches, three of them on Trent Bridge wickets made to measure for their seam attack. It will surprise no one that their strategy for 2011 will run along similar lines.
The pitch prepared for this year's curtain-raiser is typically green tinged and with cloudy conditions to aid movement in the air it Chris Read's decision to put Hampshire in will not have required a lot of deliberation.
Indeed, there was a familiar feel to the day in many ways, not least in the identity of the bowler doing most of the damage. Andre Adams, whose 68 wickets last season were far and away the biggest reason why the title came back to Nottinghamshire, took up where he had left off when Read's men captured the prize at Old Trafford back in September.
He finished with 5 for 54 as Hampshire were bowled out for 218. Charlie Shreck, back from a very brief loan spell with Kent, claimed four wickets, with Luke Fletcher taking the other. Bad light, which cut 26 overs off the day's schedule after tea, denied Hampshire the chance to properly test the champions' rejigged batting line-up but with a bowling attack depleted by injuries, veteran skipper Dominic Cork might have quietly appreciated some extra feet-up time after top-scoring with the bat.
Much will depend on how Nottinghamshire perform on day two but at the close of day one Cork will have had cause to feel his side should have done better, having come through the first 25 overs unscathed.
Injuries to Andy Carter and Darren Pattinson prompted Nottinghamshire to curtail Shreck's temporary move after he had played against Essex at Chelmsford last week. Otherwise, with Ryan Sidebottom having left, the onus on Adams to perform would have been heavier still.
Yet none of the home side's seam quartet could make much impression in the early stages. Aside from an edge or two that did not carry to the slips, and a couple of rejected lbw shouts, Hampshire openers Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson had few alarms.
Ironically, it was the confidence he must have drawn from seeing 91 on the board and no wickets lost that contributed to Adams falling on 45, when he was tempted to pull a short ball from his namesake but did not make clean contact, top-edging to long leg, where Fletcher held the catch.
It was a setback but not nearly so damaging as was to follow as what turned out to be the last three balls of the morning session cost Hampshire three wickets. Shreck took two in consecutive balls, inducing a thin edge from Johann Myburgh that Read pouched behind the stumps, then surprising Neil McKenzie with a shorter ball, which flew off the shoulder of the bat to gully, where Samit Patel took a fine catch. An Adams inswinger into Dawson's pads with the first ball of the next over hastened lunch.
When play resumed, James Vince survived Shreck's hat-trick ball but it was not long before Hampshire's troubles deepened, Shreck bowling Nic Pothas through the gate to leave the visitors 116 for 5, having lost five wickets in the space of 13.2 overs.
There is no Dimitri Mascarenhas, Michael Carberry, Michael Lumb, James Tomlinson, Simon Jones or Imran Tahir in this Hampshire line-up so the experience of Cork is particularly important. Certainly, had he not held things together, they might not have even have scraped their solitary batting point.
As it was, his partnerships of 50 with James Vince and 35 with Sean Ervine at least achieved that modest target. The 39-year-old showed that he can still wield a bat to good effect, too, with a couple of tasty drives through extra cover for four and another boundary punched past point.
He could not take the game away from Andre Adams, though. The 35-year-old Kiwi, who arrived back in the UK only on Monday after a winter in Auckland, was back in the groove immediately and produced a couple of nip-backers to account for Vince and Cork in turn before a superb catch by the daddy of all the veterans present -- 41-year-old Ali Brown -- accounted for Ervine at extra cover and gave Adams his five.
Fletcher bowled Danny Briggs and Shreck had David Griffiths caught at first slip to wrap things up but by now a gloomy evening was closing in and an over each from Cork and Friedel de Wet was all the new Nottinghamshire opening combination of Paul Franks and Mark Wagh had to negotiate before stumps.