Kent wilt as McKenzie settles into groove
Hampshire 265 for 4 (McKenzie 85*, Adams 65) v Kent
Neil McKenzie marked his return to Hampshire from South Africa with an unbeaten 85 to heap more misery on winless Kent in their Championship Division Two match. Former South Africa opener McKenzie, making his first appearance of the season for Hampshire, closed the first day in sight of his 49th first-class century as Kent toiled in the heat after losing the toss.
Hampshire, who have won only one of their six Division Two matches, finished day one on 265 for 4 from 96 overs, with opener Jimmy Adams also hitting a half century.
Kent badly missed their international-bound captain James Tredwell as Hampshire dug in on a green-tinged wicket which at first gave encouragement to pace bowlers Charlie Shreck and Matt Coles. But Kent's other spinner Adam Riley did his best to make up for Tredwell's absence by making sure Hampshire did not accelerate after Adams and Michael Carberry had got through to lunch without being parted.
Riley, 21, finished the day with creditable figures of 3 for 59 from 22 overs after posing plenty of problems for Hampshire's experienced batting line-up. For all Riley's later efforts, it was medium-pacer Darren Stevens who made the first breakthrough with the score at 80 and with the first ball after lunch.
Carberry, who had made a sound 33, pushed forward at Stevens and Sam Northeast in the slips clutched the catch. Adams followed at 118 but not before he had scored 65, with 11 fours, and laid the foundations for a big Hampshire score.
Adams was Riley's first victim, trapped lbw in his crease in the 46th over, but Kent's successes were few and far between as the wicket eased in the sunshine. Liam Dawson went at 155, also leg before to Riley after making an attractive 36, and the young offspinner struck again at 183 when James Vince was caught at the wicket by Geraint Jones. But Vince's departure for 10 only brought Sean Ervine out to join McKenzie and they dominated the final session of the day, putting on 82 in 33 overs without blemish.
Ervine was content to be the junior partner, uncharacteristically circumspect in making 31 while McKenzie took control. McKenzie lashed Calum Haggett for three successive fours on his way to the day's top score, so far having 12 fours in facing 140 balls.