Australian great Ricky Ponting will make his final first-class appearance in the LV= County Championship match between Surrey and Nottinghamshire starting tomorrow at the Kia Oval.
Ponting’s stint with Surrey finishes at the end of this month, meaning the clash with Notts represents a final four-day outing for a player who recently confirmed he will retire in October.
The 38-year-old, who captained Australia in 77 Tests, needs a further 48 runs to reach the dizzying mark of 24,000 in first-class cricket.
His runs to date have come at an average of almost 56, with the aid of 81 hundreds and 106 fifties.
As Ponting prepares to draw the curtain on his red-ball career, Surrey have included England Under-19 batsman Dominic Sibley in a championship squad for the first time.
Jade Dernbach returns after missing the trip to Yorkshire due to England commitments, but Gary Wilson is unavailable due to Ireland’s one-day internationals in the Netherlands.
Durham will once again be without skipper Paul Collingwood when they return to championship action against Division One strugglers Derbyshire.
The former England batsman missed the Friends Life t20 matches against Leicestershire Foxes and Notts Outlaws on Friday and Saturday after suffering a laceration to his thumb against Yorkshire Vikings and remains absent, meaning Mark Stoneman will continue to lead the north-east outfit.
Seamer Graham Onions is away on England duty, but batsman Gordon Muchall, spin bowling all-rounder Gareth Breese and paceman Jamie Harrison are all included in a 13-man squad.
Third-placed Durham will be looking to close the gap on leaders Yorkshire, who have played a game more, with victory over a Derbyshire side that have yet to register a four-day win this summer.
Wicketkeeper Tom Poynton is back for last year’s Division Two champions, although injury denies paceman Mark Turner the opportunity to play at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Elsewhere in Division One, out-of-form champions Warwickshire travel to Middlesex, while Somerset host Sussex.
Sussex skipper Ed Joyce is on Ireland duty, but hopes to play days three and four versus Somerset by replacing a substitute who will start the game. Chris Nash will captain the side while Joyce is absent.
The teams occupying the promotion places in Division Two, Northamptonshire and Lancashire, meet at Wantage Road, while Gareth Rees replaces shoulder-injury victim Will Bragg in Glamorgan’s squad for Hampshire’s visit to the SWALEC Stadium.
Lancashire captain Glen Chapple is back to lead the side after being rested in the FLt20 against Leicestershire yesterday, while batsmen Andrea Agathangelou and Luis Reece return to the squad.