Sean Ervine made the best of a placid pitch to ease Hampshire into the driving seat on the opening day of their LV County Championship Division Two clash with Kent.

The 31-year-old Zimbabwean scored an unbeaten 75 from 110 balls to resurrect a Hampshire innings that, at 187 for five, had threatened to seriously underachieve. With Chris Wood adding 61 from number eight, the visitors recovered to reach 343 for seven at the close.

Kent marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War by using a 1914 half crown for the toss, which Hampshire won and chose to bat first.

On a docile wicket the visiting opening pair of Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry suffered little or no consternation in posting 71 for the first wicket.

Looking to whip a length delivery through mid-wicket, Carberry missed out and was sent packing lbw by umpire Ben Debenham for 39 but Hampshire were still sitting pretty at lunch on 90 for one.

Kent re-grouped and, with the first ball after the break, Mitch Claydon found the inside edge of Adams to dismiss the left-hander to an athletic take by wicketkeeper Sam Billings - the first of his four catches.

Kent made further mid-session progress when Doug Bollinger had James Vince (15) caught at the wicket when attempting a back-foot force then Will Smith, having reached a 108-ball 50 with eight fours, played around one from Riley to go leg before.

Ervine, resolute and punishing when anything short was on offer, stroked six boundaries on his way to a 59-ball 50.

He dug in together with Wood to add a workmanlike 124 for the seventh wicket inside 28.3 overs.

Wood hit six fours in his 74-ball half-century until veteran Darren Stevens had Wood snaffled at slip by Ben Harmison to bring in Matt Coles – the former Kent all-rounder – to face the handful of nervy deliveries before the close.