Hampshire's start to the season, comprising three defeats in the Championship and two in the revamped 40-over competition, is their worst since statisticians began keeping count, so they will not have anticipated four days against title contenders Nottinghamshire with anything but trepidation, particularly after losing to the same side on Sunday. How grateful they were then for Michael Carberry's third century of the season, giving substance to what would otherwise have been another sub-par total at the Rose Bowl.
Nottinghamshire were without bowlers Luke Fletcher and Andre Adams from the team that has won both of their opening matches but the return of Charlie Shreck and Darren Pattinson demonstrated that even with Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom elsewhere they have formidable strength in depth.
Carberry and Jimmy Adams survived Shreck and Pattinson's initial overs but the introduction of Paul Franks provided Nottinghamshire with the breakthrough, Adams undone by extra bounce as he edged to the wicketkeeper before Chris Benham was taken low down at first slip off the returning Shreck and Neil McKenzie, yet to fire for Hampshire, suffered another low-scoring exit.
A stylish 39 off as many balls from James Vince, an upcoming talent among English batsmen, supplied the impetus in a fourth-wicket stand of 56 but after he had clipped Pattinson straight to mid-wicket the loss of captain Nic Pothas, caught behind attempting to cut the same bowler, left Hampshire in trouble again at 139-5.
Sean Irvine and Dominic Cork helped Carberry add 90 for the next two wickets before Carberry's innings ended after five hours and 38 minutes, the 29-year-old left-hander, who made his Test debut for England in Bangladesh in March, totting up 14 fours and a six in his 132. Useful late runs from Kabir Ali and Rangana Herath, the Sri Lankan left-arm spinner, gained Hampshire a third batting point.
Early-season pace setters Yorkshire enjoyed a productive opening day at Scarborough, where Anthony McGrath is unbeaten on 112 after recording his second century in as many matches. Chris Martin, the New Zealand seamer making his Championship debut, gave Essex an encouraging start after Yorkshire had chosen to bat first when Joe Sayers edged to Alastair Cook at first slip before Ryan ten Doeschate ended a brisk 47 from Adam Lyth.
However, the return catch with which ten Doeschate dismissed Jacques Rudolph was Essex's only subsequent success as McGrath and Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale (89) compiled a partnership so far unbroken on 163.
Kent bowled out Warwickshire for 250 at Canterbury, where Simon Cook and Matt Coles rewarded Rob Key's decision to bowl first with four wickets each. Ian Bell made only five before he was caught at long leg by Amjad Khan off Cook. His England team-mate Jonathan Trott's 67 was the best of another disappointing batting performance from Warwickshire, although Chris Woakes claimed the wicket of Key before the close.