Neil McKenzie hit 85 not out on his first appearance of the season to guide Hampshire to 265-4 at stumps on the opening day of their County Championship fixture with Kent in Southampton.
The veteran South African's 140-ball stay has featured 12 fours so far and he moved within 15 runs of his 49th first-class century by the close.
Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams also hit a half-century after he opted to bat first before becoming the first of spinner Adam Riley's three wickets.
Openers Adams and Michael Carberry batted throughout the morning session while putting on 80.
Carberry fell for 33 to the first ball after lunch, edging to Sam Northeast in the slips after pushing forward at a delivery from seamer Darren Stevens (1-43).
Adams followed later in he afternoon session for 65, trapped lbw by Riley, playing in this match in place of Kent skipper James Tredwell who is away with England's one-day squad.
Riley (3-59) struck twice, removing Liam Dawson lbw and James Vince caught behind to reduce Hampshre to 183-4.
But Sean Ervine and McKenzie dominated the final session of the day, putting on 82 in 33 overs.
Ervine was content to be the junior partner, uncharacteristically circumspect in making 31, while McKenzie took control, including three successive fours off Callum Haggett.