Hampshire 340 for 6 (Organ 100, Rossouw 92, Holland 60) v Kent
Felix Organ celebrated his maiden first-class century as Hampshire ended day one of their Specsavers County Championship fixture slightly on top against Kent.
Academy graduate Organ, making just his third Championship appearance, showed a delightful mixture of defensive resolve with a pinch of flair to score 100. The 20-year-old Sydney-born Organ enjoyed sizeable partnerships with fellow opener Ian Holland and middle-order batsman Rilee Rossouw, who both collected half centuries of their own.
Despite Hampshire bossing the day, evening wickets with the second new ball gave Kent rewards for their toils as the hosts ended the day on 340 for 6.
With James Vince and Sam Northeast away with England and England Lions respectively, Kyle Abbott stood in as Hampshire’s captain. The South African fast bowler won the toss and elected to bowl on an almost identical track to the one they scored 539 on against Warwickshire last week.
Hampshire appear to have stumbled across two young openers, in Holland and Organ, in the wake of Joe Weatherley’s fractured ankle. The new-look top order worked against Warwickshire a week ago, when Holland churned out his first professional hundred. But this was Organ’s turn to prove his worth.
Together they saw off the new ball with relative ease, neither offering a chance, with Holland playing a series of glorious off-side shots. While Holland played with a glimmer of attacking intent, Organ curbed his aggression – with his wicket prized more than runs in the morning session.
American-born Australian Holland followed his century a week ago with a 74-ball fifty. But he fell, after a 92-run stand for the first wicket, when he edged Harry Podmore to Sean Dickson at first slip.
In the next over, Ajinkya Rahane, on his last outing as Hampshire’s overseas player, drilled a cut shot powerfully to point only to see Daniel Bell-Drummond produce a stunning low catch.
That mini-wobble would have concerned the Hampshire dressing room, who had elected to bring in Mason Crane as an extra bowling option in the absence of batsman Northeast. But they needn’t have worried as Organ and Rossouw eased up and down the gears in a 166-run partnership.
Organ’s innings was particularly curious as he reached his half-century in 158 balls, but with three sixes to his name. At one point his strike-rate dipped below 20 to hint at a watchful vigil but a penchant for the odd attacking shot meant there was plenty of entertainment.
Rossouw showed maturity in his innings to restrict his usual swashbuckling efforts, leaning on his timing rather than raw power to lift his bat on an 80-ball fifty. The South African passed his highest score of the season but his departure, caught well at first slip attempting a reverse sweep, saw three wickets fall for 22 runs in five overs.
Among the collapse, Organ ran the happiest three of his life to reach three figures in 234 balls; his enthusiasm was matched by a loud reaction from the crowd. But next ball he nibbled outside off stump and edged behind before Gareth Berg was bowled two balls later – handing Darren Stevens two wickets in an over with the second new ball.
Aneurin Donald furnished the evening session with a quick-fire 40, but before he could match the heights of his 225 runs at a rate of 118 last week, the Welshman mistimed a pull and saw Joe Denly run back from mid-on to take a great catch.
Keith Barker and Lewis McManus saw Hampshire to close without further troubles.