Adam Rossington fell just shy of a century as Northamptonshire reached 333 all out on the opening day against Gloucestershire in the LV= County Championship at Wantage Road.
Will Tavare and Chris Dent calmly negotiated 6.3 overs before bad light intervened to leave this game finely poised, but Rossington, who struck 95, believes Northants are in a useful position.
“It was extremely windy out there but once you got used to the conditions, it was a good pitch to bat on,” he said.
“We lost wickets in clusters and that was disappointing but a couple of partnerships have put us in a strong position and if we hit the deck hard first thing on Monday, we’ll be looking to get them out for under 300.”
The visitors had Craig Miles to thank for a career-best 6-63, while Gareth Roderick’s six catches equalled the Gloucestershire record for dismissals by a wicketkeeper in an innings before they reached 18 without loss at the close.
Put in by Geraint Jones in his first match as Gloucestershire captain, Northamptonshire enjoyed a profitable opening hour although Stephen Peters was dropped in James Fuller’s third over by Hamish Marshall.
Richard Levi showed the early dominance they enjoyed as he clipped Liam Norwell for two leg-side sixes in his opening over and put on 59 for the first wicket until departing to Miles for 29.
Peters departed in the following over for 27 and when Rob Newton fell cheaply, Northants had lost three wickets inside 26 balls for just five runs.
New captain Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh steadied the innings to Northants at 89-3 at lunch, before New Zealander Kieran Noema-Barnett removed Keogh for his first wicket in Gloucestershire colours.
Two more wickets soon followed - Wakely for 31 and new recruit Josh Cobb for a second-ball duck - to leave Northants on 162 for six and the visitors on top.
However that brought Rossington and David Willey together and the pair enjoyed a profitable session after tea, piling on the runs in double-quick time to reach 289 for six before Willey fell for a well-made 62.
Rossington followed shortly after, five short off his third first-class century as he mistimed to Roderick off Miles for his sixth catch.
Miles returned to remove the final batsman Muhammed Azhar Ullah for eight, and he was delighted to record career-best figures.
“I was aware I was on the verge of breaking a club record and I was really hoping the elusive seventh wicket would come my way,” he said.
“Overall, we hit the deck hard at times, but we allowed them to get around 80 runs.”