|LV CC Division Two, Ageas Bowl|
|Close, day one: Hampshire 398-8 v Essex|
|Hampshire 4pts, Essex 2pts|
Hampshire opener Michael Carberry celebrated his call-up to the England squad to tour Australia for this winter's Ashes in style against Essex.
The 32-year-old, part of England's 17-man Test squad, made 85 to dent Essex's slim hopes of promotion even further.
Meanwhile, James Vince showed the form which led to his inclusion in England's winter performance squad with 82.
Greg Smith (4-47) saw Hampshire's middle order collapse, but they recovered to close on a hefty 398-8.
This fightback was down to an 88-run partnership between Adam Wheater (82 not out) and Danny Briggs (20) as Essex, who have not started with regular bowlers Reece Topley or David Masters, saw their chances of promotion appear to slip out of their grasp.
Essex have to overhaul second-placed Northants in the table to go up, but their closest rivals need just two more points from their game against Worcestershire to be promoted, having bowled out their opponents for just 163.
To have any hope of promotion to the top tier, Essex now need to take maximum points from this game, and hope Northants lose without adding any more bonus points.