First day of four: Hampshire have scored 280 for four against Warwickshire
Heath Streak's gamble with the toss backfired and sentenced Warwickshire to a hard day in the field.
Reasoning that the muggy overhead conditions would assist the bowlers, Streak inserted Hampshire but instead saw the visitors' batsmen build a commanding position on a pitch of easy pace. Sometimes, there is much to be said for losing the toss.
The decision itself may not have been at fault. Had the Bears bowled better initially, they may have found some encouragement from the pitch, but they squandered the new ball and the batsmen had time to bed in.
Had Warwickshire held their catches, things could have been different. Ian West-wood, at short leg, put down James Adams off the first ball of the match before Nick Knight, at second slip, dropped the same man on 11 as he slashed hard at one from Jimmy Anyon.
Edgbaston remains, however, a bat-first pitch. Just as Craig White must have rued h is decision to insert Warwickshire here a couple of weeks ago, so Streak will be regretting his gamble this morning. Hindsight is always in 'Twenty20' vision.
Streak was particularly culpable of wasting the new ball. His opening burst is so important for the team but he appeared to struggle with his line to two left-handed batsmen. His later spells lacked any rhythm and Tony Frost was often taking the ball at ankle height. Without a firing Streak, his side is worryingly toothless.
Michael Carberry deserves much credit, however, for his chanceless century. He batted very well. Early on, he was content to work the ball off his legs - and was given plenty of opportunity to do so - but later unveiled some lovely cover drives.
He can play off the back foot, too, as Dougie Brown found when he pitched short and saw the ball land well back in the Eric Hollies stand.
Carberry's career has never really taken off as was predicted when he started at Surrey.
Still aged only 25, he is on his third county and has only five first-class centuriers. On this evidence, there should be several more.
Finally, Neil Carter, the pick of the faster bowlers, made the breakthrough. Adams was beaten by one that came back at him to break an opening stand of 113 in 49 overs.
Warwickshire bowled much better in the second half of the day. The run-rate slowed considerably and it took John Crawley 160 balls to reach 50.
The damage was done, however. There was little help for bowlers and Hampshire were well set. Batting last against a team containing Shane Warne, Warwickshire will do well to fight their way back into this match.
Dominic Thornely, who played for Walsall in 2001, kept Crawley company in adding 80 in 32 overs before Brown produced a beauty that bounced and took his edge in the final over.
Alex Loudon produced his best bowling of the season, too. Carberry (170 balls, 15 fours and a six) edged to slip, prodding forward, before Sean Ervine's drive produced a similar outcome. Warwick-shire remain in touch, though this morning is crucial.
"The forecast was for show-ers and we thought there would be more moisture in the pitch," Streak said. "It dried out much quicker than we thought and we missed vital chances. I didn't bowl well to the left-handers, but I thought we all contributed in dragging things back a bit.
"We'd have bowled first every time," Steve Perryman, W arwickshire's bowling coach, agreed. "We didn't take our chances and didn't make the first session count. After that, we bowled very well to keep us in the game."
The attendance yesterday was pitiful, despite the presence of Warne in the opposition team! There may have been teething problems with the staging of first-class cricket at Stratford, but that venue attracted new spectators to the game.
The first day between these opponents last year had, perhaps, three or four times as many spectators. Judging by the numbers yesterday, there is a strong case for a return to out-ground cricket at the earliest opportunity.