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Specsavers County Championship preview - April 27-30

— 27 April 2018

Division One

Lancashire v Surrey (Old Trafford)

Jimmy Anderson will return to action for Lancashire against Somerset next week but tomorrow his team-mates will be looking to respond after defeat to champions Essex. Alex Davies, Jordan Clark and Joe Mennie all scored half-centuries at Chelmsford but Lancashire have yet to post a Championship hundred this season. Surrey, who beat Hampshire in their opener, are expected to be unchanged. 20-year-old Ollie Pope has made two hundreds and a fifty in his last five Championship games.

Somerset v Yorkshire (Taunton)

Two sides who enjoyed good victories in the last round meet at Taunton. Yorkshire have seam bowlers Steve Patterson and Matthew Fisher available after injury and left-arm spinner Karl Carver has been added to their squad. The hosts are still without Jamie Overton, who is recovering from a side strain, and will probably name the side which beat Worcestershire in their opener.

Hampshire v Essex (Ageas Bowl)

England opener Alistair Cook plays his first Championship match of the season as champions Essex look to build on last week’s victory over Lancashire at a venue where they won in 2017 despite following on. Hampshire are looking to bounce back from defeat to Surrey when Sam Northeast’s 129, his first century for his new county, was the highlight. Two players with pretensions to England’s No.3 berth, Tom Westley and James Vince, go head to head.

Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire (New Road)

Stuart Broad gets his first run-out for the visitors in a game where both sides will be looking to bounce back from defeats in last week’s round. Coach Peter Moores said: “I think we’ve got them at a good time and Stuart coming back into the side is a real boost for everybody.”

New Road was under water less than three weeks ago but hard work by Worcestershire staff has got the ground fit. “It’s been an incredible effort by everyone,” said Chief Executive Matt Rawnsley. The hosts have lost their first two but are likely to be unchanged.

Division Two

Sussex v Gloucestershire (Hove)

After two draws pre-season promotion favourites Sussex will be anxious to claim their first win. Stuart Whittingham may be preferred to leg-spinner Will Beer to boost the seam attack but Head Coach Jason Gillespie will keep changes to a minimum. Gloucestershire won their opener against Kent but lost to Glamorgan last week. Last season’s leading-wicket taker Liam Norwell misses out after suffering a recurrence of his hamstring injury and new-ball partner David Payne is still sidelined after ankle surgery.

Northamptonshire v Durham (Northampton)

Northants have lost their first two games and Head Coach David Ripley has identified the need to improve their first-innings batting after it lasted just 21.2 overs against Middlesex and 48.4 against Warwickshire.

Durham lost in two days in their opening fixture against Kent but James Weighell made a career-best 84 to add to his three wickets in only his tenth first-class match.

Leicestershire v Derbyshire (Grace Road)

Derbyshire arrive at Grace Road in high spirits after defeating Middlesex last week. South African Duanne Olivier will want to carry on where he left off after taking 8-108 against the 2016 champions, the best bowling by a Derbyshire debutant since 1900.

Leicestershire, who drew their opening match against Sussex, are likely to be unchanged. South African Colin Ackermann will be hoping to build on his seven-hour 186 against Sussex.

Middlesex v Glamorgan (Lord’s)

Toby Roland-Jones has been ruled out for the season with the recurrence of a stress fracture but England batsman Dawid Malan makes his first county appearance of the season and will take over captaincy duties from Sam Robson. Glamorgan may bring in Timm Van Der Gugten to boost their seam attack in place of off-spinner Andrew Salter.

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