Ricardo Vasconcelos was disappointed not to be able to kick on as he fell one run short of a half-century on the first day of Northants' clash with Leicestershire.
The South African was the hosts' top scorer as they were dismissed for just 204 at the County Ground.
Saif Zaib (34), Rory Kleinveldt (21) and Nathan Buck (20) added useful runs down the order as Northants slightly recovered from 128 for six.
Leicestershire finished the day 140 runs behind, as Ben Sanderson (2-21) and Ben Cotton (1-11), on his Northants first-class debut, got among the wickets.
But there was a tinge of regret for 20-year-old Vasconcelos, who said: "It’s a start, I was disappointed to get out on 49 but it’s a place from where I might be able to kick on from.
“It’s a competitive total and we need to try to get a lead because I don’t think batting last is going to be easy. Any sort of lead could be crucial.
“It’s swung all day and there’s some grass. If it hits the grass it flies through and if it hits the dusty patches it can keep a little low. You never really feel comfortable."
Leicestershire, who had won the toss and elected to bowl first, were thankful to bowler Zak Chappell, who claimed fine figures of six for 44 from his 14 overs.
Chappell said: "I’ve just been feeling a lot more relaxed over the last few weeks, I’ve been a bit inconspicuous with my injuries and I was just glad to be back out there and bowling.
“We bowled a little short in the morning, we had some lateral movement and the bowlers came back and did their jobs.
“We’ve got to come out and bat well tomorrow because the wicket will start to go up and down."