GARY BALLANCE continued his Ageas Bowl love affair by helping Yorkshire finish an attritional opening day of the LV = County Championship division one clash against Hampshire on 197-6, writes Ian McCullough.

Ballance, who has scored more than 1,000 runs at the Southampton venue, scored 42 hard-fought runs in conditions tailor-made for seam bowling to admirably hold the innings together alongside Dom Bess.

Bess hit the last ball of the day for four to be unbeaten on 45 before bad light brought play to an early conclusion.

On an overcast morning, Hampshire skipper James Vince had no hesitation in asking the visitors to bat on a green-tinged surface after winning the toss.

Kyle Abbott and Keith Barker immediately posed plenty of questions for the openers Adam Lyth and George Hill, who eked out just 13 runs between them before the South African quick made the breakthrough.

Having beaten the bat on numerous occasions, Abbott finally got a ball to nip back and trap Lyth on the pad for six.

Despite the tough conditions and some probing bowling from Ian Holland, who conceded just four runs from his first five overs, Hill and Tom Kohler-Cadmore showed great patience and discipline to help Yorkshire reach lunch at 60-1.

However, Hill's good early work was undone immediately after the restart when Abbott struck with the first ball following the resumption, thumping the 21-year-old's front pad with a delivery that would have clipped the stumps and he departed for 31.

Hill's departure brought Ballance, who has scored three centuries and a double ton on his previous three visits to the Ageas Bowl, to the crease.

Abbott picked up his third wicket when Kohler-Cadmore tried to break the shackles with an attempted drive down the ground but could only edge behind to Lewis McManus.

Kohler-Cadmore, who ground out 20 runs from 91 balls, threw his head back in frustration following his departure as his side slipped to 84-3.

Former England Under-19 skipper Jack Brooke soon followed him back to the pavilion after playing on to a Brad Wheal ball just before tea.

Ballance and Bess looked relatively untroubled, despite the scoreboard not accelerating rapidly.

But just when Ballance looked to be heading past 50 for the eighth time in 13 innings on this ground, he was dismissed in a somewhat tame fashion when he chipped Liam Dawson to Joe Weatherley at mid-wicket.

Wheal struck again to dismiss Harry Duke for 12 to leave Yorkshire on 159-6 before Bess Jordan Thompson added a potentially priceless unbeaten 38-run stand for the seventh wicket.