Yorkshire are confident they can bounce back from last month’s Specsavers County Championship defeat to Surrey at Scarborough when they tackle Lancashire, starting on Sunday.
After the starter comes the main course.
The Roses rivals meet at Emirates Old Trafford in the Vitality Blast on Friday and do so again at the same venue, with both sides able to field all their Test Match stars.
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will play alongside England team-mates Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler for Lancashire as they warm up for the forthcoming Test series against India.
Both Yorkshire and Lancashire are struggling at the wrong end of Division One.
Lancashire are sixth in Division One and Yorkshire seventh.
Lancashire are three points better off with one win from eight, but they have played a game more than Yorkshire, who have won two from seven.
Last time out, the White Rose were beaten by seven wickets against leaders Surrey, while Lancashire drew a home game with Hampshire.
“We had a tough result at Scarborough, but the good form we’ve shown in T20 has given us confidence,” said former captain Gary Ballance.
“Hopefully we can carry that forwards into the four-day format.
“We’ve come up against some good sides so far. Surrey just played better than us over the course of the four days. We weren’t ruthless enough.
“We had our chances, but we didn’t take them.
“It has been tough for the first half of the year in the four-day stuff. But, if we can put more consistent performances in, the results will come.”
One significant positive for Yorkshire is that their destiny in Division One is in their own hands.
Given they are 61 points behind Surrey at the top at the halfway stage of the season, they are realistically looking at preserving their Division One future.
But they play bottom side Worcestershire twice, the same with Lancashire and Hampshire once more – all teams who are around them in the table.
Ballance has played in five Roses Championship matches, including his first at Liverpool in 2011, a feisty affair which the hosts won.
But the in-form left-hander insists tensions have never spilt over between the two sides and that the competitive rivalry is a healthy one.
“Roses games are different, in all forms of the game. There’s a bit more on them, and it’s always good to play in them,” he said.
“I don’t get involved in any of the verbals or things like that.
“If guys want to have a few words, that’s fine. It’s all good fun.
“They are well fought, but I haven’t been involved in any that have gone over the top, which you don’t want.”
Since the start of June, in all forms, Ballance has been in impressive form, posting scores of 38, 66, 91, 25, 109 (Championship draw with Hampshire), 21, 54, 15, 0, 79, 17 and 40.
“I feel very good, but I can’t take it for granted,” he added. “I’ve got to keep working and cash in with some big scores, which will hopefully bring some wins for the boys.”
Warwickshire leg-spinner Josh Poysden debuts after signing a one-match loan deal.