Hampshire 305 for 6 (Prest 85, Dawson 61*, Vince 56, Gubbins 50) vs Lancashire

Tom Prest suggested 2024 will be his breakthrough season by scoring an impeccable 85 as Hampshire edged day one of their Vitality County Championship clash with Lancashire.

Former England under-19 captain Prest hinted at his first-class talents with his maiden ton towards the end of last season and opened his account this year with a high-quality knock.

He was one of four half-century makers for the hosts – with Nick Gubbins, James Vince and Liam Dawson also reaching the milestone as Hampshire totted up 305 for six in front of their highest first-day-of-the-season crowd from over a decade.

Nathan Lyon picked up his first two wickets for Lancashire during a mammoth 32-over day which yielded two for 97.

Skipper Vince won the toss and chose to bat first, giving debutant Ali Orr an immediate chance to impress the Hampshire supporters after his winter move from Sussex.

His collaboration with new opening partner Fletcha Middleton may need some work after the latter was run out in the ninth over by a George Balderson direct hit after a miscommunication.

Orr departed four overs later when Tom Bailey cut him in two with a wicked in-jagger to be caught behind, but from there, Hampshire found more fluency and built partnerships in overcast conditions.

Vince had come off a winter of seemingly endless white-ball cricket, taking him from Abu Dhabi to Australia, Dubai to Pakistan.

He ended last season’s Championship campaign – one where he become Hampshire’s first batter to 1,000 first-class runs since 2016 – with 56 and began the new campaign in identical fettle.

It was a look down and you missed it half-century, coming up in 62 balls but with hardly a shot in anger. It included a cover drive but otherwise kept the ball on a string to ease his side from danger in an 84-run stand with Gubbins, taking the score away from the worrying 26 for two.

Gubbins, who had scored twin centuries on Lancashire’s previous trip to Utilita Bowl, unfurled his typically aesthetic yet steady knock to provide the foil for Vince before helping Prest lay the foundations for his innings.

Australian spinner Lyon had been due to play for Hampshire in 2020 before Covid prevented him from arriving. His maiden first-class outing on what would have been his home ground saw him strike in his seventh over as Vince tamely turned to leg-slip.

Lyon was given the lone front-line spinner furrow, with England left-armer Tom Hartley left out having played in the rain-affected draw against Surrey. The 36-year-old also lured Gubbins into a drive to edge behind three balls after reaching a 112-run 50 but the most intriguing passage of the day was Lyon’s battle with 21-year-old Prest.

It began with a sharp chance at short-leg, which was followed by a maiden over where every ball landed on the same spot, before Prest replied with a pair of reverse sweeps. The battle would conclude with 33 runs and 34 dots in 51 balls – including the day’s only maximum on the slog sweep.

Prest is one to watch this season after his maiden century in the penultimate fixture of last season, where he took down Simon Harmer in style.

His 76-ball fifty oozed quality and underlined his tag but fell short of a century when he gloved a sweep to slip, three balls after Lyon had dropped a difficult chance on the dive. It ended a 93-run alliance with Dawson.

Ben Brown fell soon after when Will Williams secured an edge to third slip with the second new ball but Dawson made it a quartet of fifty-makers with an unbeaten 61 – although was dropped on 51 before the close.


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