Smith 99 spearheads Hampshire dominance

Hampshire 276 for 1 (Smith 99*, Adams 88, Alsop 50*) v Lancashire

Stand-in Hampshire captain Will Smith sits on 99 overnight, one short of his first Specsavers County Championship century of the season - as the Division One basement county enjoyed the best of the opening day against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl.

Smith, taking the reins while James Vince turns out for England, eclipsing his previous best score of 67 this season, while partners Jimmy Adams and Tom Alsop posted half centuries.

Smith's opening companion Adams scored his Championship-best score of 88 as part of a stand of 191, Hampshire's highest partnership of the season, and the second greatest opening stand by any Hampshire team against Lancashire.

Smith and Adams took few risks in each of the opening two sessions of the day, after the former had won the toss and batted on a flat track. Runs always seemed hard work and required patience to find, but Smith, in particular, batted in an almost shell-like state, leaving the swinging ball outside his off stump, intensely keen to horde his wicket.

In slight contrast, Adams was happier to punch over-pitched deliveries down the ground and open up the off side with well-placed cover drives. He survived several excited appeals for caught-behind but the only genuine chance came when he edged low to Tom Smith at second slip, who couldn't quite get his fingers round the ball.

The left handed Adams reached his half century in 122 balls, continuing fine recent form which has included three fifties and a 49 in four innings - although none of his seven fifties this season have been converted to three-figures.

Sure enough, he thwacked a cut straight to Steven Croft at point for 88, a case of a metre either side and it would have reached the boundary in the blink of an eye.

Smith, in his sedate manner, reached his own fifty in 147 balls, but his luck was in on 70 when he edged to second slip where Smith, again, was the unlucky fielder.

But will have to wait until the morning to have a chance of converting to a ton - which would be the 17th of his career.

Alsop was alongside him at the close, unbeaten on 50, which included his 500th first-class run, before the close, adding another 85 to secure two batting points for the home side.

The Lancashire bowling attack will have bowled worse for more reward, but by no means looked threatening for a large period of time. Saqid Mahmood, on his first-class debut, carried the more regular worries to the batsmen but it was a Hampshire day.

Lancashire 3rd innings Partnerships

1st37SJ CroftH Hameed
2nd10LA ProcterH Hameed
3rd14AN PetersenH Hameed
4th41LS LivingstoneH Hameed