Bailey shows immediate value
Hampshire 286 for 4 (Bailey 93, Vince 77*, Ervine 57*) v Leicestershire
Australian newcomer George Bailey marked his debut by making 93 as Hampshire recovered to 286 for 4 after losing both opening batsmen without a run on the board.
Leicestershire captain Ramnaresh Sarwan decided to field first under overcast skies and was rewarded with the wickets of Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry in the first five overs. Adams was bowled fifth ball by Alex Wyatt and Carberry edged defensively to new wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien to give veteran former England bowler Matthew Hoggard an early breakthrough.
But then Bailey, the Australian T20 captain, joined Liam Dawson in partnership of 141 for the third wicket in only 32 overs as Leicestershire struggled to make the best of their promising start. Sarwan used seven bowlers before lunch as Tasmanian Bailey dominated the stand, rapidly outscoring Dawson to help Hampshire seize the initiative.
Dawson, the more circumspect of the two, reached 46 from 83 balls before he chased a wide delivery from medium-pacer Ollie Freckingham and gave Jigar Naik a catch in the gully. Dawson's wicket was Freckingham's first in first-class cricket and he followed it with another four runs later when Bailey was dismissed in sight of his century.
Hampshire had reached 150 for 3 when Bailey, who led Tasmania to Sheffield Shield glory last month, was stumped as he attacked Freckingham. Bailey, fluent from the start despite only joining the squad recently, made light of the dank conditions by striking 14 fours in his 133-ball innings.
His exit failed to give the frail Leicestershire attack any respite and James Vince and Sean Ervine - the hosts' fifth-wicket pair - soon got on top every bit as commandingly as Bailey had done before them.
Bad light and rain eventually intruded after 71.2 overs, by which time Vince and Ervine had added a further 136 runs without being troubled or in danger of being parted. At the premature close, Hampshire's recovery was complete with Vince unbeaten with 77 and Ervine, who has just signed a new contract with the county, 57 not out.
After their early successes, Leicestershire's bowling fell away even though conditions were always helpful. Freckingham finished the day with figures of 2 for 71 from 14 overs but, like his team-mates, struggled to contain the free-scoring Bailey.