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Preview: Middlesex v Yorkshire

— 16 June 2017

Yorkshire will hope it’s very much a case of the London bus syndrome when they head to the capital and Lord’s on Monday.

The White Rose county face defending champions Middlesex in the Specsavers County Championship, and they are bidding for a third successive victory.

Lancashire and Somerset have been beaten in the last two rounds to leave Gary Ballance and co ideally placed in the Division One table.

They are six points behind pacesetters Essex in second. Both counties have played six, won three.

Middlesex, however, have yet to get out of the blocks and sit in sixth. They have played five, drawn four and lost one – against Lancashire at Southport last week.

It was their first defeat since the final game of 2015 when they lost to Worcestershire at New Road, meaning an unbeaten run of 20 matches.

Back to that London bus syndrome. You wait ages for one and then two come along at once. That’s certainly what Yorkshire will be hoping for, anyway.

“They’re a good side and deserved to be champions last year,” said Ballance, who scored three hundreds at Lord’s in 2014 – one for Yorkshire and two in Test Matches for England.

“But I think we’re playing some good cricket. I’m confident we can back up a good win against Somerset.

“Two on the bounce and momentum is with us. Hopefully we can put in a good performance down there.”

Yorkshire know their recent record at Lord’s isn’t great.

Their last win came in 2013 when Alex Lees scored his maiden century, added to by current coach Andrew Gale, in a 10-wicket win.

Since then, Middlesex have won the last three matches, all in unusual circumstances.

In 2014, Chris Rogers scored a magnificent double century to reel in a record target of 472. Joe Root captained the White Rose after Gale had dropped himself.

In 2015, Yorkshire won the title with bonus points on the first day and could not maintain their intensity throughout the match as a result.

  • And last year, with both teams needing to win to claim the title, Yorkshire were set a target of 240 in the final 40 overs and were bowled out for 178 as Toby Roland-Jones sealed a home title with a hat-trick.

    It has been a bit of a bogey ground for Yorkshire. But, the White Rose ended one hoodoo at Taunton last week, a ground where they had no won in seven previous attempts. So why not another?

    And the tight win, by three runs, has given Gale confidence even if he believes there is room for improvement.

    “When we’re up against it, we’ll stick our chests out and fight hard,” said the coach. “That’s what you want to see from a Yorkshire team, grit and determination.

    “We’ve done that for a number of years. That’s the brand of cricket we play. Winning in that fashion gives us a lot of confidence.

    “We just need to nail the batting. We haven’t batted well consistently as a unit for a long time. We keep talking about it, and hopefully it will be just around the corner.

    “We’re playing some decent cricket without playing great cricket. There’s lots of areas we can improve.

    “We’re at the right end of the table, but we’re not even at the halfway stage yet. There’s a lot of cricket to be played.”

    Middlesex have been hit by injury and unavailability for this match.

    They continue to be without Australian batsman Adam Voges due to a calf injury. He missed the eight-wicket defeat at Southport last week.

    They will also be without Dawid Malan due to England T20 duty and Nick Gubbins and Tom Helm, who are with the Lions for their four-day match against South Africa A at Canterbury.

    Steven Finn, however, returns after his spell with England’s Champions Trophy squad.

    Squad news

    Andrew Gale has named a 14-man squad for the trip to Lord’s with 18-year-old Harry Brook making his first appearance in a Specsavers County Championship squad. Adil Rashid returns from England duty after starring in the Champions Trophy. Tim Bresnan is in the squad pending the arrival of his third child.

    Gary Ballance ©, Tim Bresnan, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Peter Handscomb, Andrew Hodd (W), Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom.


    o Middlesex have won their last three matches against Yorkshire; including last season’s final game thriller at Lord’s to win the Division One title.
    o Four of Yorkshire’s last six defeats have come against Middlesex (Somerset & Hampshire).
    o Yorkshire duo Gary Ballance and Peter Handscomb are both closing in on milestones; Ballance needs three more runs to reach 9,000 in first-class cricket whilst Handscomb is closing in on 5,000, he’s currently sat on 4,983.
    o Ben Coad (Yorkshire) has taken 31 wickets this season at an average of just 14.