County Championship Round Four In Full Swing

A look at the action on day 1 of the fourth round of County Championship fixtures, a mathematical teaser and some photographs.

I was just a little late tuning into coverage from round four of the County Championship, but the big events all happened once I was set and ready.

SUSSEX V LANCASHIRE

First some team news: Sussex have rested Oliver Edward Robinson, the England prospect. They have made up for his absence by gambling on a line up containing five front line bowlers. George Garton, the left arm pacer is due to bat at no7, with Stuart Meaker 8, Jack Carson 9 and two youngsters, Henry Crocombe and Jamie Arkins rounding out the order. This means that top order runs are a necessity. Lancashire meanwhile have included Saqib Mahmood, a young fast bowler who has played limited overs cricket for England but has not yet been part of the England red ball set up. Liam Livingstone is officially down to bat no7 for them, with Danny Lamb 8, Tom Bailey 9 and Mahmood getting the promotion to no10 ahead of Parkinson. The ground at Brighton slopes quite drastically – the drop from end to end is a total of 20 feet (for comparison, the lateral drop at Lord’s, home to the most famous slope in cricket, is eight feet eight inches).

Sussex batted first, and after the early loss of Aaron Thomason to Tom Bailey, Tom Haines and Stiaan Van Zyl both made 50s, before Haines was out, edging Mahmood to keeper Dane Vilas. Van Zyl reached 79 before Livingstone induced him to hit a catch to backward point (Luke Wells, once of Sussex). Tom Clark and Ben Brown are batting decently together, Clark on 24 and Brown on 13, with the score 182-3. There is one remaining front line batter, Delray Rawlins, before Lancashire are through to the bowlers.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

There has been some dramatic action elsewhere, as you will see:

Nottinghamshire v Derbyshire – Nottinghamshire have reached 197-4. Ben Slater has 101 not out, while for Derbyshire Fynn Hudson-Prentice has 2-29. Joe Clarke scored 66 for Nottinghamshire.

Essex v Worcestershire – Essex are 132-1, with Sir Alastair Cook 82 not out. Alzarri Joseph has the only wicket, Nick Browne for 26.

Durham v Warwickshire – Warwickshire, sent in to bat, are 76-8. This is actually something of a recovery – at one point they were 30-7. Ben Raine has 5-9 and England fast bowler Mark Wood 3-28. Liam Norwell and Craig Miles have 24 and 20 respectively.

Gloucestershire v Leicestershire – Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field. Leicestershire are 131-3, Sam Evans 57 not out. Aussie right arm fast medium bowler Daniel Worrall has all three wickets – 3-31 off 16 overs at present. Marcus Harris, another Aussie, scored 62 for Leicestershire.

Somerset v Middlesex – Somerset won the toss and chose to field. Middlesex are 184-4. Gregory has 2-50, Overton 1-39 and there has been a run out. Gubbins with 75 and Holden 49 have been the big scorers for Middlesex.

Glamorgan v Kent – Glamorgan won the toss and chose to field, and have just bowled Kent out for 138. David Lloyd took 4-11 and Timm van der Gugten 4-41. Zak Crawley made 33, Daniel Bell-Drummond 31 and Jordan Cox 30.

Surrey v Hampshire – Surrey won the toss and chose to field. Hampshire were all out for 92, with at one point 44-2 becoming 44-6! Lewis McManus top scored with 31 not out, and Ian Holland with 22 was the only other double figure scorer. Jordan Clark took 6-21, Rikki Clarke 2-22 and Kemar Roach 2-40. Surrey in response are 70-1, Rory Burns 43 not out, Hashim Amla 17 not out. Kyle Abbott has the only wicket, Stoneman caught by McManus for 7.

Yorkshire v Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire won the toss and chose to field. Yorkshire are 97-5, Tom Kohler-Cadmore the only significant scorer with 42. Gareth Berg has 2-5, and Wayne Parnell 2-28. Jonathan Tattersall and Dominic Bess are together at the moment.

In the game I am listening to Sussex have just lost a fourth wicket as tea approaches. They are 198-4, with Bailey having pinned Tom Clark LBW for 30. Brown is on 20, and the new batter Delray Rawlins has just got off the mark with a single.

A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

I have an enjoyable little problem from brilliant.org which is not as difficult as the three flame rating suggests, although harder than their setting because I have removed the multi-choice element from it:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off..

Thoughts on The Test Squad for New Zealand

My thoughts on the England test squad for New Zealand, announced earlier today.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the test squad for New Zealand, announced not long ago. There are also of course a few photos.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE MIDDLE

The test squad for New Zealand is as follows (click here for the cricinfo article about it):

Joe Root (capt), Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes

I see one definite negative in this squad – the continuing selection of Buttler, although at least he will not be playing as a specialist batter, he will be keeping, one questionable retention (Denly), several non-controversial picks (Root, Archer, Broad – Anderson is still unfit, Curran, Stokes and Woakes), and several interesting newcomers (Sibley, Crawley, Pope, Parkinson, Mahmood). After a quick thank goodness for the absence from the red ball squad of Messrs Bairstow and Roy (retention of either would have been a disgraceful abdication of responsibility) and a brief lament for the continuing non-selection of Ben Foakes (best wicketkeeper around and averages over 40 in the few tests he has been permitted to play) and Lewis Gregory, I will devote the rest of this post to the five new names in the squad.

ZAK CRAWLEY

Opens the batting for Kent, he has 1,908 runs at 31.80 and three first class hundreds. These figures do not really warrant elevation to the status of test opener, and I would have preferred someone else to be picked in his place.

SAQIB MAHMOOD

Pretty much a pure bowler (he averages 14 with the bat in first class cricket), the young Lancashire quick  has 42 wickets at 28.90 in first class cricket (less impressive in other words than most of the younger pace bowlers I mentioned in my last post but one), however I am less unimpressed by this pick than I am by that of Crawley.

MATTHEW PARKINSON

A ‘ferret’ (he comes after the rabbits) with the bat – average 5.37 in that department – the young Lancashire legspinner has 60 first class wickets at 25.20 in his fledgling career. It is unlikely that a New Zealand pitch will warrant the selection of both him and Leach, but they should combine well together should that situation arise. I welcome this selection.

OLLIE POPE

The Surrey batter averages 57.55 in first-class cricket. His first exposure to test cricket last summer did not go well, because he was thrust higher up the order than he regularly batted for his county, but he is a much better cricketer now. He is that rarity among contemporary English batters, someone who is happy playing a long innings against the red ball. England’s middle order should benefit hugely from his presence.

DOMINIC SIBLEY

He has had a huge season for Warwickshire, which has seen his first class average move north of 40 (it currently stands at 41.55), and given England’s woes at the top of the order a failure to select him would have been an utter disgrace. His recent performance against Nottinghamshire when he scored 215 not out in the first innings and then 109 in the successful second innings run chase put him in rare company. Like Pope he is genuinely comfortable digging in for a long haul against the red ball, and alongside the now established Burns he should form the solidest English test opening pair since Strauss and Cook were in their prime nearly a decade ago.

Overall I consider this a respectable effort by the selectors and award them 7/10 for it.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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