Hampshire welcome Yorkshire to the Ageas Bowl looking to continue their fine early season form which has seen them secure a win (against Yorkshire on the opening weekend) and a draw in a game which they dominated against a strong Middlesex side. Craig White’s men will take great heart into this encounter with this strong White Rose side having beaten their upcoming visitors by four-wickets just two weeks ago. You would suspect it to be a very different challenge however in Southampton with the Tykes welcoming back the likes of England skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow as well as David Willey who impressed on his return to the side last week. Root will be keen to continue the fine form he showed in the winter as he warms up for the summer Tests, whilst Bairstow will be looking to cement his place in the England set-up with a good display in this match having missed out earlier in the season.
Yorkshire Coach Andrew Gale is determined to see his side make amends for their earlier season disappointment.
‘Chalky’s [Craig White] right, we were wounded about what happened given we drove the vast majority of the game, we’re going down there to win, that’s for sure.’ Gale told the Yorkshire official site.
In Ben Coad, Yorkshire have one of the most in-from seamers in the country right now and the youngster has described his shot to fame as a ‘bit mental’.
‘It’s been a bit mental, but I am loving every minute’ he told the Yorkshire official site after penning a new deal at the club.
For Hampshire, it is a case of carrying on as they been playing in their opening weeks, but they will have to play without key been Rilee Rossouw (finger) and Fidel Edwards (hamstring) with former Essex left-arm bowler Reece Topley returning to the squad alongside youngster Tom Alsop.
And it is safe to say that Hampshire are proud of their season's efforts thus far with skipper James Vince explaining that the Southampton based club would have snapped your hands off for this start.
‘Had we been offered the start that we’ve had at the start of the year we would have taken it with both hands.
‘Yorkshire had a good win (against Warwickshire) and they’ll be gunning for us after the result at Headingley so we’ll have a couple of days’ good rest and prepare to make sure we’re ready for another tough game on Friday.’ He told the Hampshire official site.
Team News in full:
Hampshire: Adams, Vince ©, Topley, Carberry, Ervine, McManus (w/k), Dawson, Crane, Alsop, Wheal, Berg, Abbott
Yorkshire: Ballance ©, Bairstow (w/k), Bresnan, Coad, Fisher, Handscomb, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Willey
Weather Watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 15c, Saturday: cloudy with highs of 14c, Sunday: Sunny intervals with highs of 12, and the final day with played under fluffy white clouds with highs of 12c.
Match Odds: Hampshire 11/8, Draw 0/1, Yorkshire 4/6
Somerset travel to Lancashire looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Essex at Taunton last week. They will need to do something they couldn’t manage last season and beat Lancashire after the teams drew both games last summer but the West Country boys will be looking to improve with the bat after disappointing against the Eagles. They only managed an aggregate of 383 runs over both innings against Essex, which was eventually too few as their visitors inspired by Alastair Cook eased home on Day Three. Director of Cricket Matt Maynard believes in his squad however and the are expected to select the same squad.
‘We selected what we believed to be our strongest team for the game with Essex so that 11 stays along with Tim Groenewald who was twelfth man and Josh Davey who has been pretty close to selection this year after really impressing in the Seconds.” He told the Somerset official site.
For Lancashire it has been the total opposite runs haven’t been the issue, finishing teams off has been. They have been twice frustrated firstly at Chelmsford and then at the Oval as they found themselves in winning positions in both games but Glen Chapple’s men were forced to settle for a draw in both matches. They will though be boosted by the return of James Anderson who returns to the squad after being forced to sit out their encounter at the Oval. They are still without skipper Steven Croft though so Liam Livingstone will continue to skipper the side.
Team News in full:
Lancashire: Liam Livingstone (Captain), James Anderson, Tom Bailey, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies, Haseeb Hameed, Kyle Jarvis, Simon Kerrigan, Ryan McLaren, Stephen Parry, Luke Procter, Rob Jones, Dane Vilas.
Somerset: Marcus Trescothick, Dean Elgar, Tom Abell (capt), James Hildreth, Steve Davies (wkt), Pete Trego, Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Jack Leach, Tim Groenewald and Josh Davey.
Weather Watch: Friday: Dark clouds 13c, Saturday: Sunshine 12c, Sunday: cloudy with highs of 11c, and the final days play will be played under sunny skies with highs of 9c.
Match Odds: Lancashire 10/11, Draw 0/1, Somerset 11/10
Essex make the short trip to the Home of Cricket to face reigning Champions Middlesex hoping to spring another surprise. They stunned Somerset last week at Taunton with an eight-wicket win despite having to chase the highest score of the game on a wearing pitch. They were, of course, indebted to Alastair Cook who struck a fifty in the first innings and backed that up with a stunning century in the second to help his side to victory. They have the services of the former England skipper again at Lords as he looks to continue to build up for a busy summer with his nation. Essex coach Chris Silverwood believes his side has sent out a clear message during their two displays upon their return to the top flight.
‘It shows what character we do have within the group and I think it sends out a strong message that we are here in Division One to make our presence felt. You can see the confidence in the squad and in individual players plus the good thing is that there is genuine competition for places in the starting line-up.’ Silverwood told the Essex official site.
Middlesex meanwhile are looking to return to winning ways having struggled against Hampshire last week scraping a draw after being under the cosh for most of the encounter. But on home turf the champions are strong and their squad will be keen to bounce back in a match they would have pinpointed when the fixtures were released as an 'easy win'. Much will rely on the pace duo of Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones as the pair represent quite the step up from what Essex would’ve experienced in Division Two last summer. They also have a brilliant spinner in Ollie Rayner who will be sure to cause Essex some trouble.
View From the Outfield will be broadcasting live from Lords on Friday and Sunday so be sure to check out our social feeds for updates.
Team news wise Essex welcome back Matt Quinn to the side whilst Ashar Zaidi – who impressed last week misses out.
Team news in full:
Middlesex: Franklin ©, Eskinazi, Finn, Gubbins, Helm, Higgins, Malan, Murtagh, Patel, Rayner, Robson, Roland-Jones, Simpson (w/k) and Voges
Essex: ten Doeschate ©, Wheater (w/k), Chopra, Browne, Harmer, Wagner, Beard, Westley, Bopara, Cook, Lawrence, Porter and Quinn
Weather watch: Friday: Dark clouds 16c, Saturday: white clouds 13c, Sunday: White clouds 14c and the final day will be played under white clouds with highs of 13c.
Match odds: Middlesex 8/13, draw 0/1, Essex 7/5
And finally, in division One, Surrey travel to Birmingham to face Warwickshire look for a repeat performance of the comfortable success they enjoyed when these two met two weeks ago at the Oval. In that match, Mark Stoneman and Mark Footitt dominated Warwickshire who fell to a narrow innings defeat. Stoneman struck a maiden century whilst Footitt claimed a six-wicket haul and took the key wickets of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott to seal an opening game week win. Surrey backed that success up with a battling draw against Lancashire but this will be their first venture away from London and they will be hoping to perform as well on the road as they have been at home. The squad cuts a similar look with the same squad selected from their last fixture. Warwickshire will be wary of the qualities held by Kumar Sangakkara and Mark Stoneman and will look to remove the pair cheaply as they look to exert some revenge and right the wrongs of their season so far. The Bears have struggled desperately falling to back-to-back inning defeats, nothing has gone to plan for the Midland-club with the bowlers never have enough to play with as their batsmen failing frequently apart from one brilliant knock from Trott in that second innings against Surrey.
After a poor start, coach Jim Troughton is fully expecting a reaction after severe words were had after their latest defeat to Yorkshire.
‘Our cricket in the first two games just hasn't been good enough and it has come as a shock to the system because nobody expects to lose their first two games like that.
"As a coaching team, we are looking for a big reaction. We have spoken about the start we have made and aired some home truths and now we have just got to stay strong, stay together as a group and show the quality we have.’ Troughton told the Bears official site.
Warwickshire will look to finally rack some runs up in their first innings having been bowled out for a pitiful 91 and 178 in their two first innings efforts, in an attempt to add runs they have included youngster Matt Lamb as they continue to invest in youth in an attempt to rectify their issues. Ian Westwood also returns to the team.
Team news in full:
Warwickshire: Bell (©, Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper), Barker, Clarke, Hannon-Dalby. Lamb, Mellor (Wicket-Keeper), Patel, Porterfield, Thornton, Trott, Westwood and Wright
Surrey: Batty (c), Ansari, Borthwick, Burns, S. Curran, T. Curran, Dernbach, Foakes, Footitt, Meaker, Sangakkara, Sibley, Stoneman
Weather watch: Friday: Dark clouds 14c, Saturday: white clouds 12c, Sunday: white clouds 13c and the final day will be played under white clouds with highs of 10c.
Match Odds: Warwickshire 7/4, Draw 0/1, Surrey 8/13
Previews by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
4/17/2017 0 Comments
Draws were the order of the day in Division One as Surrey and Middlesex batted all day to save their Specsavers County Championship Division One matches against Lancashire and Hampshire respectively.
At the Oval, Surrey cruised to a share of the spoils after centuries from Scott Borthwick and the brilliant Kumar Sangakkara led the ‘Rey to a comfortable draw against the Red Rose. After the early loss of Mark Stoneman (27) who was stumped by Davies off the bowling of Stephen Parry, the Sri Lankan and the former Durham all-rounder went on a rescue mission of their own to frustrate Lancashire on the final day. Sangakkara was in the majestic form playing in typically elegant style hitting the ball all around the park. He looked particularly good through the V whilst also playing some delightful cut and pull shots on his way to another first-class century in his celebrated career. He eventually became the last man to fall in the day when Simon Kerrigan bowled him for 136 (16x4 and a six) but by then the game was all but safe as Borthwick and Sangakkara had guided the hosts to 322/3. Borthwick meanwhile was the more sedate of the pair as he reached his first century in a Surrey shirt since his move down south from the northeast of England. He struck 11-fours during his mammoth 250-ball stay in the middle, he remained unbeaten as the players shook hands with the game going nowhere with Surrey on 323/3.
Hampshire were left frustrated by a dogged lower order and the brilliant Australian overseas Adam Voges as Middlesex fought for a draw at the Ageas Bowl. Despite regular wickets falling the hosts were never really in with a chance of victory whilst Voges was in the middle and he finally found support in John Simpson as the pair steadied the ship after Kyle Abbott (5-59) and Brad Wheal (3-73) had earlier given the hosts a glimmer of hope. The pair had reduced Middlesex to 138/5 and with a slender lead, the visitors knew they had to dig deep. But like true Champions the London clubs battled and made life hard for the hosts as Voges (92), Simpson (22) and Toby Roland-Jones (25) all showed great grit and determination to ensure the holders didn’t fall to an opening week defeat. They eventually closed on 278/9 declared when the teams decided to call it a day and settle for a draw.
Elsewhere, perhaps the most predictable outcome in the history of cricket took just 25 minutes to be settled. Needing just one wicket in the day with a sizable lead to their name Yorkshire wrapped up their win inside the first half-hour of play at Edgbaston. Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Jeetan Patel attempted to pull off the greatest of escapes and the pair did share 36 for the last stand but England’s Adil Rashid sealed a White Rose win with a ball that turned past the outside edge of Hannon-Dalby’s bat and clipped the off-stump to bring an end to the innings with the Bears falling 88-runs short of forcing the visitors to bat again as they fell to an innings defeat for the second game in a row.
In Division Two, Northampton produced a stunning run chase to secure victory over Derbyshire. On a bizarre final day which saw the two teams attempt to set up a clearly agreed run chase, Northampton were left 326 runs to chase down in 65 overs. All this came after Derbyshire pair Billy Godleman and Luis Reece had broken an 88-year record sharing a huge 333-run opening stand, and whilst it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given some of the buffet bowling they were served with it is still some achievement by the duo who both reached scores of 150+. Reece struck 15-fours during his 246-ball stay at the crease as he made 168, whilst his partner Godleman struck just 10 fours in his unbeaten 156. But the duos brilliance enabled the game to have an exciting finish, and when Northamptonshire lost Ben Duckett and Alex Wakely in quick succession the Derbyshire fans and players alike must have thought they were in with a genuine chance of sealing a win that looked so unlikely at the close of day three. Quick-fire runs from Rob Newton (98) and Richard Levi (99) swung the tie back in the visitors' favour. Indeed it was Levi’s rapid 99 off just 79-balls that put the visitors firmly on the front foot, he struck 10-fours and four sixes to turn the tide. Young Max Holden also contributed for the visitors striking a quick 44 before being the last to be dismissed with the score on 299/7. Rather fittingly though it was the veteran duo of Rory Kleinveldt and Steven Crook who saw the Steelbacks over the line with time ticking down the pair took just five overs to hit the final 27-run to secure a stunning final day success.
Darren Stevens once again starred for Kent as the Spitfires secured their second win of the summer. The veteran all-rounder fresh from his half-century yesterday ripped through the top order of the Sussex line-up to bag his 17th first-class five-wicket haul. Sussex were set an unlikely 446 for victory and despite making a positive start in their pursuit of a draw. They reached 56 without loss before a classic Stevens’ (5-51) masterclass turned the game on its head. He took five quick wickets to take the Sharks from 56/0 to 83/6 to put Sussex well and truly on the back foot. Ben Brown produced a similar battling display to the 90 he struck in the first innings by finishing unbeaten on 69. But Matt Coles (3-44) hurried through the tail to ensure Kent would thrash the hosts by 226-runs.
Finally, Nottinghamshire cruised to their second win of the season at Chester-Le-Street. Jake Ball (3-80), Harry Gurney (2-54) and Luke Fletcher (2-45) finished off the Durham tail midway through the morning session to fall for 250 all out with Keaton Jennings carrying his bat to finish unbeaten on 102. That left the visitors with a simple task of getting 108 in what remained of the day. They didn’t waste any time in getting to their target as Greg Smith (60*) and Jake Libby (39) scored freely to hurry the Outlaws to victory. They reached 110/1 inside 30-overs to climb to the top of the Division Two table.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
4/16/2017 0 Comments
Lancashire turned the screw on Day Three of their encounter against Surrey at the Oval. The hosts started on 118/2 with Rory Burns and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara at the crease, and the pair got off to a positive start sharing 99 for the third wicket. But when Burns (91) became the third man to fall for the ‘Rey with the total on 211 a mini Surrey batting collapse began. Sangakkara fell just five runs later as the Red Rose’s spinning duo of Simon Kerrigan and Steven Parry began to dictate proceeding. Parry had the Sri Lankan caught by skipper Liam Livingstone to fall for 46, Ben Foakes (9) and Zafar Ansari (3) were both bowled by Kerrigan whilst Dom Sibley was sold down the river by Ansari in between the two Kerrigan scalps to leave the hosts in all sorts of strife on 245/7 in pursuit of Lancashire’s mammoth score of 470. The Curran brothers (Sam and Tom) began to show some resistance as the hosts attempted to avoid the follow on and the siblings took the total to 262, still 58 runs adrift of avoid the follow on when Sam Curran edged through to Kerrigan off the bowling of Ryan McLaren to depart for 14. Thomas Curran was still going strong and found able assistance from his skipper Gareth Batty (33) as the ‘Rey edged closer and closer to that follow on target, but when Batty fell to Parry with the hosts still a couple of runs away from avoiding the task of having to bat again and probably putting themselves in a no lose situation given the game situation Parry went bang bang to put his side into a strong position. To nobodies surprise the visitors asked the hosts to bat again in fading light and dark cloud cover. After a brief break in the action for rain, Burns and Mark Stoneman strode out to the middles hoping to reach the close unscathed and they were going nicely until Kerrigan induced the edge from Burns to get the ball rolling in the second innings for Lancashire as they chase an unlikely victory in London. Stoneman and Scott Borthwick saw the rest of the day through to close on 55/1, but we have an intriguing final day in store.
Talking of unlikely victories, at Taunton, Essex secured a magnificent victory against all the odds against Somerset to bag their first Division One of the summer. Much relied on former England captain Alastair Cook as the visitors began Day three on 10/0 in pursuit of 255 on a pitch that had offered plenty for the bowlers on the previous two days. Cook started in positive fashion flaying a few boundary fours to get the scoreboard ticking over and to allay any fears that the pitch had plenty of demons in it. He, alongside Nick Browne, continued to play their shots as the duo shared a vital opening stand of 82 to steady any nerves in the Essex dressing room whilst also silencing the sizable Somerset crowd. Browne departed for a well-made 35 attempting to stamp his authority on the game, he chased a wide on and nicked off to Steven Davies behind the stumps to give Jamie Overton and the Somerset faithful some hope just as their heads began to drop. That brought England Lion Tom Westley to the crease, and it is safe to say he enjoys batting with Cook giving the fact the pair shared ample amount of time with each other last season at the crease. And the pair combined again brilliantly to nullify everything the Somerset attack threw at them, whether it be spin or pace. Cook played the anchor role only playing aggressively when the ball was there to be hit whilst Westley played the role of the aggressor as the Eagles continued to chip away at the Somerset total. The former England captain did survive some scares early on, but this innings will bring a smile to the faces of the England selectors as he looked in fine fettle throughout his 214-ball stay in the middle. He reached a deserved and crucial century for his side when Essex were on 199/1 he had faced 202-balls at the time hitting 16 fours. He fell soon after though attempting to hurry the game to its conclusion pulling part-time spinner Dean Elgar straight to James Hildreth to fall for 110, but by then his job was done, as Essex required just a further 39 for victory. Tom Westley – who had reached 50 just before Cook raised his bat for a second time looked in imperious form too as the Taunton pitch turned into a batsmen’s paradise. Westley, alongside Dan Lawrence, guided the Eagles to a memorable win in the West Country as Westley struck his fifteenth four of the match off his legs to seal the victory for the Eagles as he finished unbeaten on 86.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire suffered a batting collapse of epic proportions and will be performing the rain dance all night in the hope that the weather gods can save them from defeat. The White Rose continued the day on 295/6 with Andrew Hodd and Adil Rashid at the crease, Rashid went on to make a half-century before becoming the second man to fall on the third day after Keith Barker had destroyed Hodd’s (28) stumps. Rashid (65) fell soon after slashing a ball towards the diving Jonathan Trott who took a great grab to remove the England man off the bowling of Rikki Clarke. David Willey and Steven Patterson added vital late runs for the Tykes as they began to take the game away from the out-of-form Bears. When Warwickshire returned to the crease utter madness began as David Willey struck early twice to leave the Bears 4/2. The impressive young Ben Coad then got to work and took three rapid wickets to leave the hosts on 7 (yes SEVEN) for five with Trott, Ian Bell, Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose back in the hutch in a flash. The rain came to delay the carnage and when the weather improved William Porterfield and Clarke attempted to steady the ship but the latter edged Coad through to Lyth at slip to give the youngster his fourth and Yorkshire’s sixth to leave the Bears 29/6 and staring down the barrel of another disappointing heavy defeat. Barker and Porterfield could only add eleven before the all-rounder was dismissed after edging through to Hodd off the bowling of Patterson. That soon became 54/8 when Porterfield gave Coad another five-fer when he gave Bresnan a catch. Yorkshire were now seeking a day off on Easter Monday but Jeetan Patel and Chris Wright saw through seven overs to frustrate the White Rose. Wright though couldn’t reach close as leg-spinner Rashid bamboozled him to have his stumps disturbed. That left them nine down on 79, but they saw the day through to force final days play but you feel they are only prolonging the inevitable as they still trail by 118 with just one wicket in hand.
Lastly, for Division One, Hampshire looked to have gained the upper hand in their encounter with Middlesex. Nightwatchman Kyle Abbott (56) fellow South African Rilee Rossouw (99) and Gareth Berg (43) batted Hampshire into an unlikely lead. Abbott struck his maiden fifty for Hampshire to help to frustrate Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl, but it was his fellow Saffer who stole the show striking 99 before suicidally running himself out just one short of a deserved ton. By the time Middlesex started their second innings Hampshire had earned themselves a handy 82-run lead. Abbott’s dream day continued as he removed three of the top four Middlesex batsmen to give Hampshire hope of a final day success. The South African paceman removed Nick Gubbins (11), Sam Robson (8) and Stevie Eskinazi (45) as the visitors closed on 111/4 a slender lead of 29 going into the final day.
In Division Two, Liam Norwell enjoyed another good day at the office as Gloucestershire hurried to an innings win over Leicestershire in three days. Norwell collected match figures of 10-99 as he starred with the ball to help the Bristolians to a comfortable success. Starting the day on 165/6 and still well adrift of Gloucestershire’s 466/8dec they lost Clint McKay early on in the day as that man Norwell picked up his first of a memorable day bowling the Australian. Ned Eckersley though the only Leicestershire seemingly in any sort of form resisted everything thrown at him from David Payne and the irresistible Norwell. Eckersley shared 90 with Richard Jones (23*) but when Eckersley became Norwell’s fourth victim to fall for 88 the Leicestershire’s first innings soon came to an end as Norwell had number 11 batsman Gavin Griffiths caught at slip by Chris Dent. With a mammoth lead 207 to their name, Gloucestershire invited Leicestershire to have another go to reach their first innings total. In truth, the visitors never looked likely to force hosts to bat again and they were in all sorts of strife when Norwell and Payne ripped through the top order to leave the Foxes on 51/5. Ben Raine and Eckersley threatened to frustrate the hosts sharing 86 for the sixth wicket but when Raine was run out on 42 you felt as though the visitors’ chances of saving the game were all but gone. McKay attempted to force the hosts to bat again with a quickfire 29 before becoming Norwell’s fourth victim for the second time in the same day. Payne removed Jones for a duck to leave the hosts just one wicket away from their first victory of the season. Eckersley (85) dominated the strike and made another half-century, but even his heroics couldn’t deny Gloucestershire an innings win as he became the last man to fall to give Norwell his second five-wicket haul of the day to help his side to an innings a six-run success.
Earlier in the day, Worcestershire wrapped up a routine success over Glamorgan. The Welsh side began the day on 141/3 still some way adrift of making the Pears bat again, and they lost Colin Ingram early on to Joe Leach in the morning session to deliver a giant blow to the hopes of the hosts of saving the game. Aneurin Donald struck a vital half-century to at least make the Pears have to return to the crease as youngster Josh Tongue (5-45) and Jack Shantry (2-32) rushed through the lower order to leave the visitors with just 27-runs to win. They lost a couple in pursuit of their tiny target as Daryl Mitchell continues to struggle with the bat, but Tom Fell (15*) and Joe Clarke (2*) ensured the visitors would bag an easy win in the Welsh capital.
Bad light and rain ruled at Chester-Le-Street with just 69-balls delivered on the third day. During that brief time though Nottinghamshire managed to tighten their grip on the encounter collecting two wickets inbetween the rain. Jake Ball removed Ryan Pringle for two as he destroyed the stumps, whilst Harry Gurney ripped the off-stump out of the ground to remove Stuart Poynter. Much will rely on Keaton Jennings on the final day if Durham are to come away with anything in this encounter. They currently only have a slender lead of 58-runs with just three wickets remaining.
Elsewhere, Sam Northeast struck a stunning unbeaten 173 to put Kent in complete control of their encounter with Sussex at Hove. The Kent skipper hit 20 fours and four sixes in his explosive innings as the Spitfires strengthened their grip on the game as they stretch their lead beyond 400 going into the final day. Incredibly at one point Sussex had every fielder on the rope as they attempted to stem the flow of runs as Darren Stevens (71*) and Northeast ran the Sussex fielders ragged on the South Coast. Such was the rapidness of the Kent captains innings is the fact that by close his score of 173 came off 181 balls as he produced a somewhat limited over-esque display to guide his side to a position where his team cannot lose in Sussex, they lead by a huge 426 going into the final day.
Finally, fifties from Derbyshire’s Luis Reece and Billy Godleman has left the games with Northamptonshire destined for a draw. After Northampton had been dismissed for 307 after Max Holden top scored with 76. In a match that was largely delayed by rain and bad light in Derby, the hosts made the most of the 52 overs they faced. Reece and Godleman nullified a talented bowling attack to ensure the match would enter an intriguing final day. They lead by 116-runs as they will look to force a result on Day four. Reece hit seven fours in his unbeaten 69 whilst Godleman hit eight fours in his unbeaten 63 they close on 142 without loss.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
4/15/2017 0 Comments
Eighteen wickets fell on day two at Taunton as the match between Essex and Somerset twisted and turned – and that’s not just the ball spinning out of the rough I am talking about as the Eagles have been set a tricky looking score of 255 to chase down. Time, of course, won’t be an issue for the visitors with two full days still to come but with wickets tumbling on the first and second day they will be under no illusions of the magnitude of their task. Chris Silverwood’s men began the day in the healthy look position of 60/2 but that soon turned into a perilous position as a cluster of wickets fell before lunch to a mixture of good bowling and brainless batting from the Eagles batting line-up. Dan Lawrence was the first to go soon after the resumption pinned leg before off the bowling of Craig Overton to fall for a duck. Ravi Bopara joined former England skipper Alastair Cook at the crease and the pair looked to be beginning to steady the ship when Bopara, by now on a battling eight attempted a paddle sweep only to bowled around his legs by Jack Leach. Cook was the next to fall soon after reaching his half-century (85-balls and nine fours) playing on to his off-stump off the bowling off Lewis Gregory. Wickets continued to tumble as Essex became more and more bogged down and they lost two quick wickets with the score on 91. Skipper Ryan ten Doeschate played a loose shot to offer up a catch to James Hildreth off the bowling of Gregory before Van der Merwe bowled Adam Wheater for four. Only Ashar Zaidi threatened to halt the procession of wickets striking a defiant 23 that included 2 fours and a solitary six. He couldn’t find any partners though and soon after lunch Essex were dismissed for a disappointing 129. In reply, some more brainless batting occurred, this time from Somerset who looked to add plenty of runs to their already decent looking lead of 80. Jamie Porter struck twice early to remove the dangerous Marcus Trescothick (8) and skipper Tom Abell (0) to give the visitors early hope of scuttling their hosts out. Hildreth and Dean Elgar becalmed any nerves around the County Ground by adding 45 for the third wicket before Elgar was pinned leg before for 27 to become the only man to fall to spin off the bowling off Simon Harmer. But it was the dismissal of Steven Davies that really opened the floodgates for Essex and Neil Wagner specifically who went on a solo mission to give Essex a sniff. He took the final six wickets to fall. He took an aggressive short bowling approach to leave Somerset 124/9 at the time a lead of just over 200. But a final wicket stand of fifty frustrated the visitors and could well have taken the game away from Essex on a pitch that is seemingly hard to score runs on. When Wagner returned to the attack to remove Craig Overton it left Essex with a tricky seven overs to face before close. They safely survived the late onslaught to close on 10 without loss to leave them requiring a further 245 to win.
Middlesex’s Sam Robson and Stevie Eskinazi both struck half-centuries at the Ageas Bowl against Hampshire but the hosts fought back late on to ensure it would be an even first day in Southampton. Robson (84) and Eskinazi (82) had put the visitors into a strong position sharing 105 for the second wicket but three late post tea wickets helped Hampshire wrestle back some late initiative. Both Robson and Eskinazi struck 13 boundary fours during their stay at the crease after Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat first to lead the side to 160/1 before Robson edged Gareth Berg to slip to be the only man to depart in the afternoon session. Hampshire though continued to plug away and were rewarded for their efforts late in the evening session collecting four wickets to ensure the spoils would be shared on day one. Brad Wheal picked up two wickets in the post-tea session including the key wicket of Dawid Malan (43) who was caught by Sean Ervine. Ervine himself claimed the vital wicket of Eskinazi who became the next man to fall with the score on 234. Adam Voges (24) and John Simpson (9) were the other two batsmen to fall on the first day to Kyle Abbott and Wheal respectively but Toby Roland-Jones (10*) and skipper James Franklin (17*) guided the visitors through to close unscathed as Middlesex closed on 290/6 on an even first days play.
Essex enjoyed the better of the first day at Taunton as the visitors close just 149-runs behind after bowling the hosts out for 209 on the opening day. On a slow pitch that offered decent turn, Somerset elected to bat first with a clear eye on bowling last on a wicket that will surely offer the spinner plenty of turn during the final knockings of this match. And they were proved correct as Simon Harmer (2-51) and Ashar Zaidi combined to bowl the hosts out for a below-par total in the West Country. The Pakistani spinner was the pick of the Essex attack plugging away on a good length bamboozling the Somerset batting line-up with his subtle variations to finish with economical figures on his first bowling efforts of the season. He removed overseas pro Dean Elgar (34) with a ball that pitched and turned away from the left-hander to give Adam Wheater a routine stumping, Roelof van der Merwe leg before wicket and Jamie Overton to finish with figures of 3-17 from his 12 overs. Ravi Bopara took the first two wickets of the innings as he combined nicely with the returning Alastair Cook to remove Marcus Trescothick (26) and new Somerset skipper Tom Abell (1) as the hosts struggled to get their innings going. Indeed, no batsmen reached 50 as Somerset picked up just a single batting bonus point with only Peter Trego threatening to reach 50, falling on 48 to the impressive Harmer. Essex battled through a tricky late evening spell to reach 60/2 at the close with former England skipper Cook looking fluent on 39 not out, as Browne (11) and Westley (10) fell before the end of the day.
At the Oval, Surrey were left frustrated by Jordan Clark and Shivnarine Chanderpaul after making plenty of early inroads before being pegged back by the superb duo. Lancashire found themselves in a spot of bother when the pair joined each other at the crease at 122/6 after Mark Footitt had taken three wickets to put the ‘Rey in control in South London. But Clark joined the West Indian to lead the Red Rose fight-back. This isn’t the first time the Manchester-based club have shown a late order riposte as Clark and Vilas battled back against Essex last week, but this is even more impressive against a star-studded Surrey attack. Clark struck a century, his maiden first-class century to help the visitors to a far more respectable 294/6 at the close after being in a spot of bother early on after Footitt struck twice in an over to leave the visitors on 67/5. Chanderpaul must take some credit in this admirable fightback as he struck an 183-ball 85 that included 13-fours, but make no mistake about it the day belonged to Clark who’s maiden first-class century will live long in the Lancashire memorable he struck 17 fours and three sixes to ensure the visitors edged the first day in London.
Elsewhere, on a rain-reduced first day at Edgbaston Ben Coad enjoyed another decent day with the ball as his stock as a fast bowler continues to rise. The young Yorkshire seam bowler collected figures of 4-47 as he ripped through the Warwickshire top order to spell further trouble for a struggling Bears side. Coad removed the top three including the prized scalp of Jonathan Trott (13) who fell leg before to the paceman. Warwickshire were again forced to rely on the batting efforts of Jeetan Patel and Keith Barker to rescue them out of a significant hole. The pair shared 63-runs for the eighth wicket before Patel was beaten all ends up by a turning ball from England’s Adil Rashid who bagged his first wicket of the summer. Steven Patterson collected two wickets for the visitors including the wicket of former England man Ian Bell (11) as Yorkshire reduced the hosts to 152/8 in the 48-and-a-half overs possible on day one in Birmingham. It is very much advantage Yorkshire after the opening day.
In Division Two, Jofra Archer produced an impressive spell of fast hostile bowling to collect figures of 7-67 on the opening day at Hove against Kent. The Caribbean-born paceman produced some lightning quick bowling to put Kent on the back foot early on before Darren Stevens (68) and Kent new boy Wayne Parnell (51*) added some vital late runs to take Kent passed the 300 mark. Sean Dickson struck a half-century for Kent to hold the innings together before becoming Archer’s third scalp edging behind to Ben Brown behind the stumps. Archer also removed the dangerous Daniel Bell-Drummond to get the ball rolling for the South Coast club. The Barbadian then wrapped up the tail to finish with a seven-wicket bag for the first time in his career in his career, indeed this was his maiden first-class five-wicket haul. That left Sussex with six-overs to see out before the close, they did lose opener Chris Nash for five but closed on 11/1 on a very entertaining first day in Brighton.
In the pick of the Division, Two ties at Chester-Le-Street Nottinghamshire edged the first day despite a late rally from the Durham bowling attack. Durham already hard-done-by after their 42-point deduction would’ve been hoping for a regard batting effort to chip away at their rather large deficit started poorly with new signing Stephen Cook failing for just two edging Jake Ball behind to the safe hands of Chris Read. And thing didn’t get much better for the hosts as a mini collapse began following the fall of the second wicket. They found themselves struggling on 71/7 following a good spell from Luke Fletcher (3-23) and James Pattinson (3-43). The home faithful though would’ve been buoyed by the regard attitude shown by Irishman Stuart Poynter – who struck a fluent 65 which included 12-fours as he helped his side to 162 all out. Durham, who are blessed with one of the best bowling attacks in the division then fought back strongly with the ball as Nottinghamshire found themselves 7/3 following a brilliant opening spell from both Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth. Greg Smith was the first to go finding the reliable hands of Paul Collingwood off the bowling of Onions before Rushworth struck twice in quick succession to leave the visitors in a spot of bother, he removed both Jake Libby and Alex Hales in the fifth over. Samit Patel in his new spot of three began the rebuilding process with Michael Lumb as the duo steadied the ship to ensure the visitors would reach close on 96/4 with Lumb falling just before close for 33 trapped leg before by Mark Wood.
Fourteen wickets also feel in Cardiff as Glamorgan’s batting frailties raised their ugly head for a third time this summer. The hosts fell to 207 all out largely thanks to the efforts of David Lloyd who put the rest of the Welshmen’s batting line-up to shame hitting 88 of his sides 207 runs. Indeed, the hosts found themselves in the familiar position of 87/7 when Harry Podmore fell to Jack Shantry. This was all after Ed Barnard (2-32) and John Hastings (3-57) had combined to rip through a weak looking Glamorgan top order. Lloyd finally found a partner in Lukas Carey (39) to guide Glamorgan to a batting point, Lloyd struck 10 fours and three sixes during his stay before he became the last man to fall. In reply, Worcestershire found themselves in early trouble on 1 for 2 with both Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira falling for ducks to Carey and Michael Hogan respectively. Tom Kohler-Cadmore (52*) and Ben Cox (41*) guided the visitors through to the close to leave the Pears just 29 behind with six wickets in hand on 180/4.
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire dominated the opening day of their encounter against Leicestershire in Bristol. William Tavare was the pick of the host’s batsman finishing the first day unbeaten on 73 as the West Country-based club closed on 236/4. He found support in Graeme Van Buuren as the duo helped the hosts recover from 74/2 to 201/3. Van Buuren struck 79 as the pair shared 127-runs for the third wicket. And despite a couple of late wickets for the visitors, the hosts dominated the first day.
Finally, Nathan Buck took three wickets for Northamptonshire as they shared an even opening day with Derbyshire at The 3aaa County Ground. Buck removed Shiv Thakor, Daryn Smit and Gary Wilson as Derbyshire closed on 219/6. Wilson top scored on debut for the hosts striking 72 before being trapped leg before to become the last man to fall. Ben Sanderson also impressed for the visitors collecting 2-37 including both openers in Luis Reece and Billy Godleman as he continued his fine early season form.
Round-ups by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
This week’s Division Two fixtures kicks off the season for Derbyshire, Sussex, Durham, and Worcestershire who face Northamptonshire, Kent, Nottinghamshire, and Glamorgan respectively.
Arguably, the most intriguing fixture in Division Two this week is the battle between the two relegated sides, Durham and Nottinghamshire at Chester-Le-Street. Notts started the season well last week with a good win against Leicestershire, following a superb all-round performance from James Pattinson. In all honesty, it is hard to predict how Durham will go this season, the loss of Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman to Surrey will no doubt be a challenge, but the 48-point deduction could well create a siege mentality in the North East, eager to prove a point first up.
This week also sees Northamptonshire travel to Derbyshire, on a high following a win within two days against Glamorgan last week. 2016 was a distinctly forgettable season for Derbyshire who will be hoping to make an impression early. I’m excited to see how new signing Gary Wilson from Surrey goes for Derbyshire. Coach John Sadler is said to be attempting to impose an aggressive brand of cricket, but this may be difficult against a Northants side full of confidence.
Next, Glamorgan host Worcestershire at the lovely SWALEC ground in Cardiff, hoping to move on from their collapse last week against Northants. There may be some scarring in the batting line up after being bowled out for 101 and 187 that the Worcestershire bowling attack will undoubtedly be looking to target, particularly if it’s a green deck. Glamorgan welcome back Michael Hogan who was unavailable for last week’s game, the Cardiff faithful will be hoping to see a good partnership with him and new signing Marchent de Lange.
Also this week, Gloucestershire welcome Leicestershire to Bristol. Its been a tough week for Leicestershire after losing to Notts and finding out about a 16-point deduction after numerous misdemeanours in the past 12 months. Gloucestershire are set to be captained by new signing Phil Mustard after club captain Gareth Roderick has been struck down with illness. Gloucestershire suffered a heavy defeat by 334 runs last week in Canterbury, including the embarrassment of being bowled out for 61 in their 2nd innings. How this young Gloucestershire team respond will show a lot about their temperament and self-belief going into this season.
Finally, Kent travel along the south coast to Hove to face Sussex. Kent will be determined to back up last season’s 2nd place and and impressive win last week. Veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens took 6 for 22 amidst the carnage in Gloucestershire’s 2nd innings last week. Sam Northeast’s men from Canterbury will also be boosted with the addition of fast bowler Wayne Parnell to the attack this week. Sussex are also set to give debuts to two South Africans, Vernon Philander and Stiaan Van Zyl, a hard game to call, but it is set to be an interesting game.
Previews by Harry Hill - You can follow Harry on Twitter @HarryHill96
You can also follow live updates from throughout the four days on our Twitter feed @ViewFromTheOut
Whilst children all around the country tuck into their hot cross buns and Easter eggs, county cricket members will be travelling all over the country to watch some bank holiday cricket.
In Division One, Hampshire will be looking to back up their memorable win in Leeds with a home success over last year's champions Middlesex. The Ageas Bowl based club are likely to be unchanged from the side that secured a four-wicket win over Yorkshire with the aggressive Kyle Abbott looking to continue his fine early season form in Southampton.
Ahead of the clash Hampshire head coach Craig White told the Hampshire Official site that the boys look to be in a positive mindset.
“There’s going to be no easy games this year but we’re really looking forward to the challenge. I think we’ve taken a huge amount of confidence away from the game at Headingley and hopefully, we can take that into the game against Middlesex.
“We had a couple of days off after the Yorkshire match and then we had a good training session yesterday and topped that up today – the boys seem to be in a really good place so we’re all looking forward to it.” He said.
Middlesex, meanwhile, enter the clash as current holders but don’t hold a great recent record against Hampshire having won just one of their 13 previous trips to Southampton. A quick look down their squad for the upcoming fixture though will tell you why they are a dangerous outfit. Their strength lies in their bowling for sure with Toby Roland-Jones, Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh all set to feature at the Ageas Bowl on Good Friday. Their batting isn’t bad either with Sam Robson and overseas pro Adam Voges sure to hit some runs this summer and in James Franklin, they have an experienced all-rounder as their captain. They will be there or thereabouts come September and they will be keen to pick up where they left off last season.
Weather watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 13c, Saturday: Cloudy with highs of 12c, Sunday: Cloudy with highs of 12c and the final day will be played with a chance of rain and highs of 13c.
Toss Prediction: No toss Middlesex to bowl.
Match Odds: Hampshire 5/4, Draw 0/1, Middlesex 4/6
Team news in full:
Hampshire: Vince ©, Adams, Ervine, Dawson, Berg, Carberry, McManus (w/k), Rossouw, Crane, Wheal, Edwards, and Abbott
Middlesex: Franklin ©, Eskinazi, Finn, Gubbins, Helm, Higgins, Malan, Murtagh, Rayner, Robson, Roland-Jones, Simpson and Voges
Essex travel West to Somerset looking for their first win on their return to the top-flight boosted by the news that former England skipper Alastair Cook has recovered from the sore hip that kept him out of the opening game of the season and is set to feature for the Eagles at Taunton. His return will mean a change to the side that battled to a draw against Lancashire last week. It will be a tough call for Chris Silverwood with the seemingly obvious option being Dan Lawrence but his display against Lancashire has made him almost undroppable. Varun Chopra could be the man to miss out for the Eagles after a disappointing start to the season but either way, you can be sure to see Cook in the XI somewhere. Youngster Aaron Beard will be looking to continue his fine early season form with the ball in the West Country after impressing against Lancashire at Chelmsford last week as he looks to stake a claim as a regular starter for the Eagles in Division One.
Somerset will be looking to go one better than last season under new skipper Tom Abell. Abell will captain the side for the first time in a competitive fixture tomorrow and they will hope his innovative captaincy will create more opportunities for success this summer after narrowly missing out on the title last season. Looking at their squad on paper you’d be a foolish man to write them off as Championship contenders, they have a strong batting line-up which you would suspect Essex would struggle to bowl out twice in this fixture with Dean Elgar, Marcus Trescothick, Abell and James Hildreth a pretty formidable opening four. In the Overton twins they have two of the most promising young bowlers in the country and with Lewis Gregory, they have a cracking new ball partnership and first change line-up. They will be too strong for Essex and for me an outside chance of being crowned Division One winners come September.
Weather Watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 14, Saturday: cloudy with highs of 11c, Sunday: Cloudy with highs of 12, and the final day will be played under cloudy skies with highs of 13c.
Toss Prediction: No Toss Essex to bowl.
Match Odds: Somerset 8/11, Draw 0/1, Essex 11/8
Team news is full:
Somerset: Trescothick, Elgar, Abell (c), Hildreth, Davies (w/k), Trego, Van der Merwe, Gregory, Overton C, Overton J, Groenewald and Leach
Essex: Ten Doeschate, Beard, Bopara, Browne, Cook, Harmer, Lawrence, Porter, Wagner, Westley, Wheater (w/k) and Zaidi
Two County heavyweights meet at the Oval as Surrey tackle Lancashire in South London in an Easter weekend thriller. Surrey will enter the clash as slight favourites following their comprehensive success over Warwickshire last week. This will though be a much tighter battle with the Red Rose batting attack looking in good early season form following back-to-back scores of 300+ at Chelmsford last week. Lancashire will be skippered by a new face at the Oval following the injury sustained by Steven Croft in Essex, the man to lead the Red Rose is highly thought of Liam Livingstone. Livingstone will have to make do without England seam bowler James Anderson though who has been ordered to rest by the ECB. Saqib Mahmood will be Anderson’s replacement whilst the Red Rose will look for a similar performance from Kyle Jarvis, Alex Davies and Dane Vilas – who all impressed last week.
Surrey meanwhile will be looking to make it back-to-back home wins and they are much fancied to do well this summer and they proved that last week with a comprehensive success over Warwickshire. Debutant Mark Stoneman shone last week and will be looking to continue to impress at his new home ground this weekend. Mark Footitt, the Curran brothers Sam and Thomas as well as Jade Dernbach are a formidable bowling quartet and will surely cause the Lancashire line-up some bother. Lancashire are vulnerable early on as Essex proved when they had them in trouble on 160/6 so the Red Rose will be wary of a getting off to a good start with the bat.
Weather Watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 15c, Saturday: Cloudy with highs of 12c, Sunday: Cloudy with highs of 12c and the final days play will be played under white clouds with highs of 13c.
Toss Prediction: Toss, Surrey to bat after Lancashire loss the call.
Match odds: Surrey 4/7, Draw 0/1, Lancashire 17/10
Team news in full:
Surrey: Batty (c), Ansari, Borthwick, Burns, Curran S, Curran T, Dernbach, Foakes (wk), Footitt, Meaker, Sangakkara, Sibley, Stoneman
Lancashire: Livingstone (c), Chanderpaul, Clark, Davies (w/k), Haseeb Hameed, Jarvis, Kerrigan, Saqib Mahmood, McLaren, Parry, Procter, Vilas
The final fixture sees the two losers of the opening weekend's fixtures meet at Edgbaston as Warwickshire face Yorkshire. Both will be keen to bounce back following disappoint defeats at the hands of Surrey and Hampshire respectively.
Warwickshire have a young looking side mixed with a bunch of experienced pros with the likes of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott set to be key for the Bears as they look to return to winning ways. Trott, who scored a ton during the opening game will be looking to find some partners to bat with this time around after a disappointing display last week saw the Birmingham-based club fall to an inning defeat despite a fine 151 from the former England man. Ahead of the clash, Jim Troughton told the Bears official website that he expects his side to ‘bounce back hard’.
“Both had a disappointing result to start the season with and will be champing at the bit to put things right.
"We know what went wrong for us at The Oval. We played a very good side at the top of their form but effectively gave them a two-day head start. Of course, you can't afford to do that.
"We had hit back really well with the ball to get them all out for 450 after they were 400 for five, but then ran into Mark Footitt's spell and to lose five batsmen for ducks in about ten overs is pretty exceptional.
"But we've got a lot of experience and quality in the dressing-room. These guys have been through that sort of thing before and bounced back hard and that's what we'll be looking to do against Yorkshire.” The Warwickshire head coach said.
Gary Ballance’s will to be hoping to see a reaction from his Yorkshire side after a shock home defeat to Hampshire. Ballance himself would’ve have been pleased with his own individual display but will now be looking for a team display rather than an individual one. And he will be looking for more from new overseas’ pro Peter Handscomb, who want to see his new county put sides to the sword after a disappointing defeat on his White Rose debut.
“The mood in the camp is definitely upbeat and the boys all understand that cricket can be a bit of a fickle game at times and sometimes results don’t go your way. It was disappointing to lose from the strong position we were in. Moving forwards we were able to get ourselves into that strong position, so in the games in the future, we just need to be able to capitalise on that and really put the foot on the throat when we need to.” The Australian batsman told the Yorkshire official site.
Team news wise the Tykes look stronger with the returning David Willey and Adil Rashid adding vital experience to the bowling line-up alongside the impressive youngster Ben Coad, whilst Matthew Fisher also returns to the squad.
Weather watch: Friday: rain with highs of 13c, Saturday: cloudy with highs of 10c, Sunday: Dark clouds with highs of 11c, and the final day will be played under white skies with highs of 11c.
Toss Prediction: With rain scheduled no toss, Yorkshire to bowl.
Match Odds: Warwickshire 11/8, Draw 0/1, Yorkshire 8/11
Team News in full:
Warwickshire: Bell ©, Ambrose (w/k) Barker, Clarke, Hain, Hannon-Dalby, Mellor, Patel, Porterfield, Singh, Thornton, Trott and Wright
Yorkshire: Ballance ©, Bresnan, Coad, Fisher, Handscomb, Hodd (W/k), Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Rashid, Warner, Willey
Charlie Jennings will be Snapchatting live from Edgbaston on Saturday and Sunday, you can follow us on Snapchat @ViewFromtheOut
Previews by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
You can follow live updates throughout the four days through our Twitter feed @ViewfromtheOut
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week you would know that ‘Proper Cricket’ has returned to our radio waves (because apparently, it’s not ‘entertaining’ enough for TV, we’ll have to put up with the endless IPL for the foreseeable future, sigh). Here at View From The Outfield we appreciate skill and will strive to recognise good performances, so welcome to our new County Championship version of Charlie Jennings’ successful T20 team of the week from last season.
We saw plenty of superb centuries and some terrific bowling in game week one, so here is VFTO’s team of the week.
Mark Stoneman is a guaranteed shoo-in for one of our openers spots in the side, on his Surrey debut he smashed an impressive 165 to kick-start his life at the Oval in style. The former Durham man struck 24 boundary fours and one maximum during his 267-ball stay at the crease as he helped his new side to a mammoth 454 first innings score, a score that proved far too large for Warwickshire who fell a run short of making the hosts bat again. Adding to his runs, Stoneman leapt like a salmon to take a stunning slip catch to remove the dangerous looking Ian Bell in the second innings off the bowling of Mark Footitt.
Joining Mark at the crease to face the new ball is Jimmy Adams of Hampshire. Whilst he may have struggled in the first innings against Yorkshire at Headingley, but then so did most of his team as the South coast team collapsed to 141 the veteran opener more than made up for it in the second innings. Adams top-scored with 72 to help guide Craig White’s men to an unlikely four-wicket win in Leeds against League favourites Yorkshire. He, alongside Michael Carberry, ensured the visitors got off to a solid start in their pursuit of 320 by sharing 91 for the opening stand. Adams eventually fell to Azeem Rafiq but by that time the opener had struck 11 fours and helped his side to 160 and halfway to a memorable win.
At three, is Yorkshire’s losing captain, Gary Ballance. In a game where wickets tumbled for both sides Ballance impressed to give the England selectors a reminder of his talents. During the first innings where many batsmen failed to trouble the scorers too much, the Zimbabwe-born batsman struck a crucial century to guide his team to a respectable total of 273 after being inserted by Hampshire. He whacked 17-fours during his 190-ball stay at the crease before being bowled by fellow England man Liam Dawson. He once again top-scored in the second innings striking a half-century during an innings that saw wickets clatter all around him as the hosts fell to a disappointing 187 all out. His team may well have lost but this was well and truly a captain’s performance from Ballance.
At four, Jonathan Trott, the former England man produced a one-man battle to save his side from embarrassment. On an absolute road of a pitch at the Oval (as it so often is) the ageing batsman – who like most of his teammate failed miserably in the first innings falling for a duck struck a majestic 151 to add some form of respectability to a result that without him could’ve been an absolute annihilation. They did ultimately fail to make Surrey bat again despite Trott’s dogged effort but that in truth was down to the failings of the first innings. During his 291-ball stay at the crease, he struck 19-fours before becoming Footitt’s second victim of the match.
Being an Essex fan I had to stick one Eagle in the team, but mercifully I don’t think anyone can accuse me of being biased for sticking young Dan Lawrence into the XI. The 19-year-old continued to prove the adage ‘if you’re good enough you’re old enough’ is 100% correct as he rescued a draw from the jaws of defeat for Essex with a brilliant match-saving century. In total the youngster batted eight hours and batted the entire final day to frustrate Lancashire. Bare in mind that Lawrence faced the likes of James Anderson and Kyle Jarvis in this knock makes it all the more impressive. He faced 333-balls and struck 18-fours in total during his mammoth heroic effort in Chelmsford.
At six, another man who starred at Chelmsford, but this time for the opposition, Lancashire. Dane Vilas – who made his debut for the Red Rose in the east of England, made a half-century in each innings to put his new county in complete control in Essex. He scored a vital 74 in the first innings to top score, and it proved pivotal after seeing his side fall to 160/6, he helped guide the visitors to 319 all out which after the hosts were dismissed for just 159 gave the Red Rose a handy first innings lead. A lead he, alongside Alex Davies stretched to an unassailable one to ensure the visitors were in a no-lose situation entering the final day. He struck 92 in the second innings including just five fours. Although his side couldn’t get over the line, the South African’s debut will please coach Glen Chapple no ends.
Behind the stumps batting well below his usual opening berth is Vilas’ partner in crime Alex Davies. The Red Rose opener struck a maiden first-class century for the visitors at Chelmsford to help bat the game away from Essex. After a first innings failure edging Jamie Porter behind for just five, the opener went on the offensive to ensure Lancashire would enter the final knockings of the match on the front foot. He hit a magnificent unbeaten 140 off 265-ball including 21 fours to help his side to 317-3 declared.
Taking the all-rounder spot for the side is the evergreen, Darren Stevens. He will perhaps have a lot of bowling to do given the lack of bowling resources in this side but you can’t not pick him after his exploits after lunch on day three brought a hurried end to Kent’s encounter with Gloucestershire. The veteran finished with staggering figures of 6-22 as the Spitfires dismissed their West Country visitors for just 61 to secure a staggering 343-run success. Stevens is not only handy with the ball he is pretty good with the willow too, striking a 50 in the first innings, a fine all-round display by the Kent man.
Being a bowler myself this is where I really get excited. Onto the wicket takers, and we’ll start with a spinner (everyone side needs a spinner despite what the ECB may tell you). Being the early season, wickets were hard to come by for the finger tweakers but Stephen Parry of Lancashire was the pick of the slow-paced bowlers. He held an end up vitally in what proved a long final day for the visitors – who ultimately fell short of their desired result. Parry took three for 28 in the first innings including the vital wickets of Adam Wheater (1) and Dan Lawrence 37 either side of Lunch to turn the game on its head. An impressive display of bowling from the Lancashire man.
Hampshire’s second man of the XI is Kyle Abbott. The South African was a controversial and perhaps surprise arrival to the Ageas Bowl on a permanent deal seemingly giving up any international hopes he may have for a spell in the English County system. But if he continues to churn out performances like the one he produced at Headingley the South Coast side will be in dreamland. Whilst his first innings efforts weren’t spectacular (2-64) his second innings exploits were nothing short of remarkable as he bowled his new county into the ascendancy. He finished with figures of 7-41 to rip through the Yorkshire batting line-up as they collapsed to 187 all out.
Bringing up the tail is Surrey’s Mark Footitt, it was a toss up between him and Gloucester’s Liam Norwell, but Footitt’s spell in the first innings against Warwickshire means Norwell will have to carry the drinks and the oranges this week. The former Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire man produced a brilliant spell of 6-14 to decimate the Bears batting line-up as the visitors collapsed to a paltry 81 all out to be put immediately onto the back foot. The left-arm seamer removed dangermen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott without score during a spell that put the hosts in control of the encounter early on.
So there you have it, that’s our XI, did I forget anyone? Have your say below or contact us on Twitter @ViewFromTheOut.
4/10/2017 0 Comments
Some dodgy batting, brilliant bowling, stunning fielding and cracking sunshine welcomed the County Championship season back. We saw five centurions, eight ‘Michelle’ five-fers and three sub one hundred innings scores during a dramatic opening game week.
In Division One, Hampshire stunned bookies favourites Yorkshire by securing a well-deserved four-wicket success. The South Coast county's achievement is all the more impressive given the fact Craig White’s men were 132-runs adrift on the first innings after Ben Coad starred with the ball for the Tykes in taking 6-37 to help dismiss the visitors for just 141. That was after the host made 273 with Gary Ballance top scoring with 120. The game changed on a sixpence when Hampshire’s new arrival Kyle Abbott used all his international experience to collect brilliant figures of 7-41 to give the visitors a genuine sniff of victory as the hosts were skittled out for 187. That left Hampshire with 320 to win with a day and bit to spare, and they got off to the best possible start with Michael Carberry fresh from his successful battle against cancer and Jimmy Adams sharing 91 for the opening stand before Coad removed the former England man for 41. Adams though remained patient and vigilant in his task going on to top score with 72 finding support from skipper James Vince and sharing 69 before falling leg before to Azeem Rafiq. His demise brought to the crease another debutant in Rilee Rossouw who struck eight fours in his 47. He shared just 16 with Vince though who fell to Coad for 44, that wicket gave Yorkshire some hope and that hope turned into belief when Tim Bresnan removed Sean Ervine (8) just five overs later to leave the visitors on 195/4 still 125 behind. England’s Liam Dawson joined Rossouw and the pair went about their work with a mixture of aggression and patience to take the visitors towards the winning line before the South African edged through to Hodd off the bowling of Bresnan with the total on 252. Still requiring a further 69 the visitors knew work was still to be done. Young wicketkeeper Lewis McManus was the man to join the pressure cooker alongside the experienced Dawson. And that pressure went up a notch when Dawson was magnificently caught and bowled by Bresnan for 37. But that was to be the final success for the hosts as Gareth Berg and McManus coolly guided the visitors to victory with an important 58-run stand. Berg sealed the win in style with a six off Coad to secure an unlikely success.
At the Oval, Mark Stoneman enjoyed a memorable Surrey debut as he starred with the bat to help his new club to an innings and one run victory over Warwickshire. The former Durham man struck a stunning century to guide the hosts to 454, hitting 24 fours and a six on his way to 165 to comfortably top score. Rory Burns and Kumar Sangakkara (both 71) also played their part in running the Warwickshire bowling attack ragged. Credit must go to Chris Wright who stuck to his task manfully to grab a five-wicket haul finishing with figures of 5-113. Their tiredness showed when they strode out to bat, losing five batsmen for a duck as they stumbled to an embarrassing 91 all out on a pitch that offered little to the bowlers, or so it seemed. Mark Footitt, who struggled in his maiden season in London, made up for all that disappointment with a stunning six-wicket haul to rip through the Bears top order including the key wickets of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell both falling without score. To nobodies surprise with a mammoth lead of 363 to their name Surrey asked their visitors to bat again. The Bears were in immediate trouble again in their second innings as they threatened to fold like a pack of cards for a second time falling two down for just 37-runs. That brought two former England men together at the crease and they were determined to make up for lost time after both failing to trouble the scorers in the first innings. They were key to any chances of a miracle for the visitors and they shared a century stand before Ian Bell (64) fell soon after reaching his half-century to a moment of brilliance from that man Stoneman again who produced a stunning slip catch to remove the former England number three. A mini collapse ensued as Jade Dernback removed Sam Hain (3) before Thomas Curran took the wickets of Tim Ambrose (0) and Rikki Clarke (8) in quick succession, but Trott continued on his merry way and completed his century to remind everyone of his class. He, alongside Keith Barker (57) frustrated the Londoners for 42-overs sharing a stand of 124-runs in the process before Barker was trapped leg before by the evergreen Gareth Batty. Curran continued to impress with the ball collecting the wicket of Jeetan Patel (29). But the vital wicket of Trott – who by now had reached a brilliant 151 went to Footitt who had the Warwickshire number three caught by Dom Sibley. They were in sight of making the ‘Rey’ bat again and save themselves the embarrassment of an innings defeat but they fell an agonising one-run short when Wright was bowled by Curran (4-88) for 8 as Surrey wrapped up a comprehensive win before lunch on the final day.
Finally, at Chelmsford, Dan Lawrence struck a match-saving 141 not out to guide Essex to an unlikely opening game draw on their return to Division One against Lancashire. In a topsy-turvy game in sunny Essex, the hosts enjoyed a positive start on their opening day back into the top flight as they had their Red Rose counterparts in a spot of bother on 160/6 with Jamie Porter (2-64) and Aaron Beard (3-47) impressing on their maiden forage into Division One cricket. Porter got the ball rolling post-lunch with the key wicket of England hopeful Haseeb Hameed who had looked untroubled until the fair-haired seamer knocked back his stumps to leave the visitors on 118/3. Skipper Steven Croft who had shared 68-runs with Hameed soon fell after for 48 giving Simon Harmer his first scalp in an Eagles shirt. And when Ryan McLaren fell first ball Essex would’ve been dreaming of removing the visitors for a below-par score after losing the toss and being asked to bowl on a flat looking Chelmsford wicket. But debutant Dane Vilas (74) frustrated the Eagles alongside Jordan Clark (24) and Steven Parry (19) before becoming the ninth man to fall with the score on 268. Essex were left to rue a last wicket stand of 51 between James Anderson and Kyle Jarvis who guided the Red Rose beyond 300. Jarvis (28) was the last to fall caught by Chopra off the bowling of Neil Wagner (3-100) but by then the visitors had reached a respectable total of 319 a total that proved too hot to handle for the hosts who suffered a baptism of fire on their batting return to the top-flight being dismissed for just 159 with only really Dan Lawrence (37) and Ravi Bopara (46) threatening to trouble a decent Lancashire bowling attack. Lancashire declined the opportunity to put Essex in again, and that proved to be a wise call with Alex Davies (140 not out) and Vilas (92) putting Essex to the sword once more to leave the hosts with little chance of victory. Croft’s men declared just before tea on the third day in the hunt for some late wickets before having a real go on the final day. They did snare two with Chopra (29) and Nick Browne (18) falling before close. The hosts knew they faced an uphill battle on the final day, but they enjoyed a promising start to the final day with academy pair Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley both reaching half-centuries to guide Essex through to lunch unscathed. Westley, who harbours England hopes looked assured and didn’t offer a chance before being bowled by Parry for a well-made 61. But it was 19-year-old Lawrence who was really stealing the show at the other end as he showed maturity beyond his years to bat with great grit and determination to thwart everything thrown at him by a skilful Lancashire attack that included Jimmy Anderson and Kyle Jarvis. Despite wickets falling around him with Bopara and Wheater falling cheaply the youngster remained calm at the crease and completed a magnificent century coming off 216-balls. The late loss of skipper Ryan ten Doeschate threatened to throw a late spanner in the works but Lawrence - who by now had been at the crease for eight-hours, ensured Essex grabbed a vital opening day draw with some gritty resistance from partner Harmer. Essex finished on 316/6 with the 19-year-old unbeaten on 141.
In Division Two, no game reached the final day as Northampton breezed past Glamorgan by an innings and 22 runs inside three days, Kent thrashed Gloucestershire by 334-runs and Nottinghamshire made a statement on their return to the second tier with a routine 10-wicket success.
Northampton took just two days to defeat their Welsh visitors with Rory Kleinveldt starring with both bat and ball to ease his side to a comprehensive success. The South-African born all-rounder took 3-35 as the Steelbacks dismissed Glamorgan for just 101 after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat. Kleinveldt wasn't finished there though and with the hosts struggling on 170/6 the experienced Northamptonshire stalwart top scored with 86 to guide his side to a useful 310, a lead of 209. That proved to be more than enough as Glamorgan’s batting frailties reared their ugly head again as Ben Sanderson (4-31) and the brilliant Kleinveldt (3-54) combined again to do the damage as the Welshmen struggled their way to 187 all out, 22-runs short of the Steelback’s first innings total.
Red-hot promotion favourites Nottinghamshire flexed their muscles to secure a comfortable ten-wicket success over Leicestershire. James Pattinson, fresh from getting off the plane from Australian showed no signs of jet lag as he produced a cracking all-round display to ensure Nottinghamshire would ease to success. Pattinson took 3-55 as Leicestershire were dismissed for 251 in their first innings with Ben Raine (55*) and Mark Cosgrove (57) in the runs for the Foxes. The Australian then showed that he is no mug with the bat either sharing a 122-run eighth wicket partnership with England’s Stuart Broad (52). Pattinson ended the innings unbeaten on 89 to top score for the visitors who were dismissed for 329. Honours just about even you would think, but Pattinson and Luke Fletcher (4-35) had other ideas as the duo combined to blow the Leicestershire batting line-up away. The hosts were dismissed for a paltry 81 with the impressive Pattinson finishing with figures of 5-29. That left Nottinghamshire with the simple task of getting three runs. A task emphatically finished off by Greg Smith who thwacked the winning runs for six to give the Outlaws a winning start in Divison two whilst defeat further compounds the Foxes' misery following their 16-point deduction.
Finally, at Canterbury, Kent secured a comfortable win over Gloucestershire after dramatic post-lunch day three session brought a quickened end to the game. The Bristol-based club’s batting frailties let the visitors down in both innings as the hosts eased to a mammoth 334-run success. Joe Denly struck a half-century in both innings to help the hosts to respectable scores of 298 in the first innings and 246 in the second. Liam Norwell was the pick of the Gloucestershire attack in both innings taking match figures of 8-105, but he was badly let down by his batsmen. Indeed, the visitors fell straight behind the eight-ball by being dismissed for just 149 in their first effort of the season with the bat Chris Dent the only man to offer any sort of resistance top scoring with 67. That below-par score left the visitors chasing an unlikely 396 to win. Then utter madness occurred after lunch on day three as the evergreen Darren Stevens (6-22) and Kent new boy James Harris (3-26) tore through the Gloucestershire line-up to dismiss the visitors for just 61 to give Kent a massive opening game win.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu on twitter)
4/6/2017 0 Comments
Division Two kicks off tomorrow with an unfamiliar face set to line up in the second tier for the first time in ten years as Nottinghamshire fresh from their shock relegation from Division One face Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Leicestershire has just been hit by the news that they will start life in Division Two in minus digits after being hit by a 16-point penalty for breaching ECB rules regarding obscene language and/or gestures made by skipper Charlie Shreck during a recent university fixture against Loughborough. It is a blow for the Midlanders who will now be immediately on the back foot as they face the toughest looking side in the Division on the opening day. Leicestershire, have been quiet over the winter but have recently recruited batsman Colin Ackerman to bolster their batting ranks ahead of their opening game against the Outlaws. The Foxes are blessed with experience with the bat with Mark Pettini, Paul Horton and Michael Cosgrove all in their thirties, it will be key those three alongside the newly signed Ackerman score in abundance for the Midlanders to spring a surprise or two this summer, but they will have to do without their skipper Cosgrove as he will have to sit out following the incident that occurred last week. With the ball, they loss of Shreck will hit them hard as he faces a spell on the sidelines he is a reliable seamer who has a history of picking up wickets with the new ball, much will rely on the all-round expertise of Ben Raine and the experiences Clint Mckay as they look to shock Nottinghamshire at Grace Road.
For Nottinghamshire, they are rightly the red hot favourites for promotion back to the top-flight, and this game will be the perfect spring board to kick start their season in style. They are blessed with talent with Stuart Broad, new overseas signing James Patterson and Harry Gurney all ready to let rip with the ball in hand. Their batting isn’t bad either with Alex Hales, Chris Read, Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels all more than capable of making 1,000 runs this year. You would expect them to be strong and new coach, former England coach Peter Moores at the helm you would also expect them to be tactically strong too. I expect them to overpower Leicestershire and stroll to a routine win in the East Midlands.
Weather watch: Friday: cloudy with highs of 13, Saturday: Sunshine with highs of 16, Sunday: Sunshine with highs of 20, and the final day will be played under cloudy skies with highs of 11.
Toss Prediction: I suspect Notts will look to bat Leicestershire out of the game and seek an innings win, so Nottingham to bat first if they win the toss.
Match odds: Leics: 11/5, Draw: 0/1. Notts: 4/9
Team news in full:
Leics (from): Cosgrove (capt), Ackermann, Ali, Chappell, Dearden, Eckersley, Griffiths, Hill, Horton, McKay, Pettini, Raine, Wells.
Notts (from): Read (capt), Broad, Fletcher, Gurney, Hales, Hutton, Libby, Lumb, Moores, Patel, Pattinson, Read, Smith, Wessels.
Whilst, Nottinghamshire may be favourites for promotion another team who may have a say in that matter are Kent, who face Gloucestershire at Canterbury in their opening match of the season. True to the current County set-up at the minute, the Spitfires too have a new coach in former Kent and Essex batsman, Matt Walker. Walker has assembled a side packed full of local talent and experience as he looks to put a promotion on his coaching CV. There is no doubting that he has the batting at his disposal with future England star Daniel Bell-Drummond set to open the batting alongside former England opener Joe Denly, with skipper Sam Northeast coming in at three, on paper, it looks to be a strong top order at this level. With the ball, they have the wily old hands of Darren Stevens and James Tredwell alongside the pace of Mitch Claydon and James Harris – who joined from Middlesex on loan last week. It is a strong side, and one that should they hit their straps will be the surprise package of the summer
For Gloucestershire, our friends at GlosFans on Twitter has informed us in our preview that they don’t hold much hope for a promotion but they do have some handy players that will cause the Spitfires some problems in game week one. Phil Mustard, who arrived permanently in the winter will captain the side and if his batting is anything to go by you can expect some explosive captaincy from the wicket-keeper batsman. He is just one of many dangerous players Kent must watch out for, in Liam Norwell, they have a prized bowling asset at Division Two level and David Payne and Craig Miles are also dangers with the ball. Chris Dent is the run getter having scored 1000 runs last summer and he will be key not only in this match but also for the entire season.
This fixture will be tight with the strong possibility of a draw.
Weather watch: Friday: Dark clouds with highs of 12, Saturday: light clouds with highs of 13, Sunday: Sunshine with highs of 18, and the final day will be played under light clouds with highs of 13
Toss: Gloucestershire will look up to the heavens and take the option to bowl first as the away side.
Match Odds: Kent: 5/8, Draw: SP/1, Glos: 11/8
Teams in full:
Kent: 17 Sam Northeast (c), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 6 Joe Denly, 9 Joe Weatherley, 42 Will Gidman, 3 Darren Stevens, 10 Alex Blake, 12 Adam Rouse (wk), 26 Matt Coles, 15 James Tredwell, James Harris, 8 Mitch Claydon.
Glos: 15 Chris Dent, 43 Cameron Bancroft, 4 Will Tavare, 12 Graeme van Buuren, 21 George Hankins, 28 Ian Cockbain, 19 Phil Mustard (c, wk), 10 Jack Taylor, 34 Craig Miles, 14 David Payne, 24 Liam Norwell, 23 Craig Liddle, Oliver Currill.
The final fixture of this Division Two game week sees Northamptonshire take on Glamorgan.
It is not often that Northampton has a player in the Wisden’s top five players of the year, but in Ben Duckett, they have a star in the making. Duckett may have struggled in the winter during his brief foray with the England squad but there is little doubt the hard-hitting opener will get his chance with the three lions again in the near future. For now, though it is about doing the business for his beloved Northants, it is testament to his loyalty that the much talked about top order batsman has remained a Steelback when he could’ve sealed a move to a top-flight county with ease. But Division One’s loss is Northampton’s gain and they will once again rely heavily on his runs if they are to seriously challenge for promotion this year. He will need assistance though and in Josh Cobb and Alex Wakely they have player capable of making runs, it is with the ball you fear they may struggle with this summer, a look at the squad list for this fixture shows you that only really Ben Sanderson (who burst onto the scene last season) and new signing Nathan Buck strike any fear into a side.
Looking at Glamorgan’s squad for this fixture tells you why many aren’t expecting them to have a spectacular season, it’s a team mixed with youth and experience but one that doesn’t really strike you as a team that will threaten. There is potential with Donald and De Lange as well as the upcoming Harry Podmore, but the loss of Timm Van Der Gugten will hit them hard. They may trouble Northampton but there are far stronger outfits than the Welsh contingent of the County Championship.
Weather Watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 12, Saturday: Sunny with highs of 16, Sunday: Sunny with highs of 20, and the final day will be played under white clouds with highs of 11.
Toss: Glamorgan to take the option of bowling.
Match odds: Northants: 4/5, Draw: 0/1, Glam: 6/5
Teams in full:
Northants: Buck, Cobb, Duckett, Holden, Kleinveldt, Levi, Newton, Rossington (w/k), Wakley ©, White, Sanderson
Glam: Rudolph (c), Selman, Lloyd, Ingram, Cooke, Donald, Carlson, Meschede, Morgan, Salter, De Lange, Carey, Podmore
Previews by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
All Alastair Cook Alex Hales BBC Radio Commentary Ben Coad Ben Duckett Birmingham Bears Chris Read County Championship County Cricket Dan Kingdom Darren Sammy David Bowden Day/Night Cricket Derbyshire Durham England Cricket Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hill James Anderson James Vince Jamie Ramage Joe Root Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow Kent Kevin Hand Watch Kevin Hand-Watch Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Middlesex Natwest Blast Neil Harris Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Previews Retrospective Reports RLODC Round Ups Round-ups Season Review Somerset Stuart Broad Surrey Sussex T20 Blast Team Of The Week Virdi Vitality Blast Warwickshire Wocestershire Worcestershire Yorkshire