An unbroken third-wicket stand of 248 between centurions Liam Dawson and James Vince helped Hampshire score 362-2 on the second day of the LV=CC match at Grace Road.
Hampshire had a solid start as they moved to 114-2, opener Sean Terry (57, 123b) sharing 50 and 64 with Jimmy Adams and Dawson respectively.
Dawson (136*, 228b) and Vince (145*, 168b) then played delightfully in putting on Hampshire’s highest third-wicket stand against Leicestershire.
It was the second time this season that particular record had been broken, with Dawson also featuring in the previous best when putting on 141 with George Bailey.
Vince has been in superb touch recently and it showed, the majority of the talented young batsman's boundaries coming through the covers and mid-on.
County’s wickets came from Ben Raine (18-2-66-1) and Shiv Thakor (10-1-32-1), while Alex Wyatt bowled superbly without picking up any tangible reward.
Leicestershire made three changes to the side that drew at Lancashire. Matthew Hoggard returned to play his final game in professional cricket, and Wyatt and Thakor also came back into the XI.
The trio came in for Nathan Buck, Ollie Freckingham and the injured Matthew Boyce, so Niall O’Brien led the side for the first time. Hampshire also made three changes with Sean Ervine, Danny Briggs and Ruel Brathwaite returning for Michael Roberts, Chris Wood and David Balcombe.
O’Brien won the toss and elected to field first, and play was able to get underway on time after yesterday’s washout. Hoggard (20-2-72-0) bowled the first ball of the game, and Terry glanced down to fine leg for four.
A chance came at the end of the over as Hoggard found the edge of Adams but Michael Thornely couldn’t hold on at first slip. Terry flicked his second four in the third over of the morning but runs were generally hard to come by as Hoggard and Wyatt (20-4-68-0) posed plenty of problems.
A double change came after 13 overs as Tom Wells (11-2-31-0) and Raine were introduced. Although there was the odd loose delivery, the young seamers followed Hoggard and Wyatt’s lead by bowling good lines and extracting plenty of movement.
Three pleasant strokes brought Hampshire boundaries, starting with a Terry drive down the ground. Adams (14, 58b) then struck through the covers before Terry cut through backward point. The Hampshire 50 came up at the start of the 19th over but the first wicket was just around the corner.
Raine found Adams’ outside edge with a really good delivery and O’Brien completed the dismissal. Wyatt was reintroduced at the Pavilion End in place of Wells and he bowled a beautiful second over back.
The seamer asked Terry questions by swinging the ball both ways, and O’Brien was alert to a stumping opportunity as the young opener was batting out of his crease. The batsman just got back but he was certainly being kept on his toes.
Terry responded well by glancing the first ball of Wyatt’s ninth over down to fine leg for four before edging a Hoggard jaffa through the cordon for four. Dawson, who had earlier driven for four to get off the mark in style, twice pulled James Sykes (11-0-47-0) to the ropes as Hampshire went in on 83-1.
County had kept a lid on things but runs came more freely after the interval. Dawson tickled Thakor for four in the first over and Terry drove Wyatt down the ground as he moved to 47. Dawson pulled Wyatt to the fence before Terry drove through mid-on to record a 112-ball fifty with his 8th four. That stroke also brought up the 50-stand as well as taking the score into three figures.
Dawson again pulled Wyatt for four before Terry nudged down to fine leg as Raine re-entered the attack. Leicestershire then made an important second breakthrough as Thakor, who changed to the Pavilion End, trapped Terry in front.
The in-form Vince hit two well-timed drives to the fence while Dawson also played a stunning back foot stroke to gather four between those efforts. Vince hit a trio of fours down to third man off Hoggard before driving Raine with élan through the covers to register another boundary.
Dawson flicked his 8th four of the innings to register a 79-ball fifty and a driven three took another Hampshire stand to 50. A cracking inside-out stroke off Sykes brought Vince a seventh four while Dawson picked up an all-run four in the 55th over.
Vince powered two drives through mid-on, and a glance to fine leg registered Hampshire a batting point. Vince was now on 49 and a single took him to a 65-ball half-century, the landmark including ten boundaries.
Dawson twice guided down to the vacant third man boundary in the penultimate over before tea, the second of which brought up the 100-run partnership. Vince played a dismissive pull before Dawson again struck down to the vacant third man boundary in the tea over bowled by Thornely (4-0-19-0). Hampshire went in on 224-2 with Dawson on 86 and Vince 57.
Hoggard had a loud appeal for a catch down the leg side in the first over back but Vince survived. The batsman then took the attack to the bowlers; he struck Sykes for six and four over mid-on before driving consecutive Hoggard deliveries for to the cover boundary.
Vince was now on 87, just one behind Dawson, and his side had two batting points. Dawson drove through mid-wicket to move into the nineties. The stand reached 150 in the 74th over before Vince had a moment of fortune. the batsman nicked the returning Raine but the ball was very wide of O’Brien and went for four.
Both batsmen went on to post hundreds, with Dawson’s coming from 164 balls with his 13th four. Vince followed a beautiful drive through extra with a single as he moved to the milestone from 119 balls with 16 fours and a six. It was his third LV=CC hundred in as many matches.
Hampshire were 287-2 after 80 overs and the new ball was taken immediately. A wonderful drive from Vince raced for four and although he had now overtaken Dawson in the scoring stakes, it wasn’t for long as the number three struck two more fours. Hampshire had now recorded their third batting point.
Vince nicked the luckless Wyatt through the slips for four before producing another of his trademark drives through mid-on to pick up another boundary. A brace from Vince took the stand to 200 before the batsman timed strokes through extra and backward square leg to perfection to record boundaries number 20 and 21.
Dawson then punched through mid-on to gather his 16th four before Vince swept to the ropes as Sykes returned. Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley then had an over of spin apiece before stumps.
Dawson pulled Robson (1-0-11-0) down to fine leg for four and Vince then cut to the ropes as the 350 came up at the end of the 95th over. Vince struck Eckersley (1-0-10-0) down the ground for four before Dawson profited from four overthrows from the last ball of a good day for the visitors.