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)
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