Neil McKenzie marked his return to Hampshire with an unbeaten 85, heaping more misery on winless Kent in their LV= County Championship Division Two match at the Ageas Bowl.
Former South Africa opener McKenzie, making his first appearance of the season for Hampshire, closed the first day in sight of his 49th first-class century as Kent toiled in the heat after losing the toss.
Hampshire, who have won only one of their six Division Two matches, finished day one on 265 for four from 96 overs with opener Jimmy Adams also hitting a half-century.
Kent badly missed their captain James Tredwell, playing for England in the final NatWest Series one-day international against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, as Hampshire dug in on a green-tinged wicket which at first gave encouragement to seamers Charlie Shreck and Matt Coles.
The visitors’ other spinner, Adam Riley, did his best to make up for Tredwell's absence by making sure Hampshire did not accelerate after Adams and Michael Carberry had got through to lunch unscathed.
Riley, 21, finished the day with creditable figures of 3-59 from 22 overs after posing plenty of problems for Hampshire's experienced batting line-up.
For all Riley's later efforts, it was medium-pacer Darren Stevens who made the first breakthrough with the score on 80.
Carberry, who had made 33, pushed forward at the first ball after lunch and Sam Northeast pouched the chance at slip.
Adams became Riley's first victim, trapped lbw for 65, but Kent's successes were few and far between as the wicket eased in glorious sunshine.
Liam Dawson also departed leg before to Riley having made an attractive 36, and the young off-spinner struck again when James Vince was caught behind by Geraint Jones.
But Vince's departure for 10 only brought Sean Ervine out to join McKenzie; the duo dominated the final session of the day, putting on 82 in 33 overs without a blemish.
Ervine was content to be the junior partner, uncharacteristically circumspect in making 31 while McKenzie took control by lashing Calum Haggett for three successive fours on his way to the day's top score, so far including 12 fours in 140 balls.