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Hampshire take control over Kent
Hampshire take control over Kent

James Vince’s season continued to burst into life with his second century in a week as the Hampshire skipper and Ben Brown dominated Kent in the Vitality County Championship.

Vince had skirted around form with 305 runs in 11 innings before exploding with a sensational unbeaten 166 against Warwickshire last week before following it up with 149 not out at Utilita Bowl.

He and Brown put on 245 for the fourth wicket after the top order had faltered to 56 for three to put Hampshire in command.

Wicketkeeper-batter Brown joined Vince in the three-figure club late in the day to reach an unbeaten 106 as Hampshire ended the day on 310 for three.

Having been stuck in, and endured an 80-minute rain delay shortly after play had started, Hampshire found themselves in a spot of bother.

Fletcha Middleton had recorded twin fifties at Edgbaston but uneasily left his bat hanging for the fit again Grant Stewart to kiss the outside edge.

Australian Charlie Stobo was next up to bulldoze the top order when Nick Gubbins, unfortunately, padded into his stumps to leave Hampshire 24 for two.

Vince quickly got moving with his first scoring shot naturally a drive through the cover boundary.

But lost Toby Albert after nine overs together when the opener loosely drove to second slip – with Jack Leaning not showing any ill effects from the broken hand which had kept him out for seven weeks.

From then on it was the Vince show, with luscious shots while toying with the now ineffective visiting bowlers.

Before that mesmerising century earlier in the week, he only had a pair of fifties in the Championship and Vitality Blast 53 to show for a disappointing opening to the campaign.

But this was peak Vince, dismissing any loose bowling for boundaries – with 10 of his boundaries piercing through the covers.

There were barely a handful of occasions when he was out of control of the ball, and none went close to hands as he started in fourth gear and never relented.

The fifty came in 56 balls, the century – his 30th in first-class matches – zipped by in 115 deliveries with a tuck off his legs. There was even time for him to pass 12,000 red ball runs for Hampshire.

If Vince was an aggressive and effortless Ying, Brown was a watchful and determined Yang.

Everything the former Sussex captain did was controlled. Boundaries came when they came but he never went searching for them.

But when there was a little width, a punched cut would appear. A ball down his legs and a full-blooded sweep of pull would materialise.

His 25th century arrived in 183 balls as the floodlights started to glow, as the green-tinged pitch which initially looked perfect for bowling had long since flattened out.


Hampshire century-maker Ben Brown:”It was a great day. It was a really good partnership with Vincey there which was nice after we lost a few wickets early.

“It was some tricky conditions this morning with it being overcast and there was a little bit in the wicket so I didn’t expect to be walking off with Vincey at the end of the day.

“Vince changed the feel of the day. When he goes off like that it is hard to stop. It is distracting for the opposition playing against someone playing those shots and timing the ball so well.

“He is playing brilliantly. Once he gets into that rhythm he can be all-consuming in the way he plays. Sometimes he makes it look so easy you feel like you should be playing better! It looked like he was batting on his own pitch!

“Sometimes it can be difficult at the other end as well, I didn’t find it easy at all but he is there with a run-a-ball 70 and I’m scrapping away. Eventually it got easier as it always does.

“We start again in the morning. They’ll have a new ball, and the new ball did a bit, so we’ll have to work hard again.

“I’ve been feeling good for a while. I just try to stay positive in the middle and get a good feel of conditions. I’m playing well, feeling good, I just have to make it count.”