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Root and Ballance back against leaders

By Dominic Farrell

Yorkshire have added England duo Joe Root and Gary Ballance to their squad as they prepare to host LV= County Championship Division One leaders Warwickshire.

The White Rose were unable to force victory despite a largely dominant performance against champions Durham last time out and coach Jason Gillespie has called on his players to develop a more clinical edge.

“In our last couple of games with the ball, we have had periods of some excellent play but there have been times where we haven’t got it right,” he said. “That is an area of concern and certainly something we are focussing on to improve.

“We have dominated games for the main, but haven’t been able to finish teams off. We are well aware of that. I have been impressed with the lads on preparation and the effort shown in every game. We are giving ourselves opportunities to drive games forward, but we just need to find that killer instinct. I know that will come.”

Gary Ballance, pictured, and Joe Root are back as Yorkshire hope to return to winning ways against leaders Warwickshire at Headingley

Warwickshire will aim to chalk up a third successive victory and extend their slender one-point advantage over Sussex at the top.

They will be bolstered in their aim to do this by Ian Bell and Chris Woakes returning from England duty, while Will Porterfield is available against having featured for Ireland last week.

Sussex’s own England representative, Chris Jordan, will be absent when they welcome Durham to the County Ground.

Ed Joyce and Matt Machan are back from international action with Ireland and Scotland respectively after Sussex lost their position at the summit when rain wrecked a strong chance of victory over Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Matt Prior remains sidelined with an Achilles problem and is now targeting the championship game against Middlesex starting on May 26 for a comeback.

Coach Mark Robinson told The Argus: “Matt's injury is not responding the way the medical team had hoped so they are trying a new programme. Instead of trying to get him ready for the next game they are giving him a block of time to try to get it right.”

Durham are still searching for the first win of their title defence having started with three consecutive draws. Mark Stoneman and Michael Richardson will hope to build on first-innings centuries against Yorkshire.

Middlesex’s search for consistency continues against Lancashire at Lord’s

It has been a topsy-turvy season for the London side thus far - they followed up a sensational chase of 472 to beat Yorkshire at HQ with an innings-reverse at the hands of a depleted Warwickshire last week.

Australia opening batsman Chris Rogers' brilliance at the top of the order has not been matched by overall consistency at Middlesex so far this season

The contrast in Lancashire’s campaign to date is between batting collapses and impressive bowling performances. Last season’s leading wicket-taker Kyle Hogg could boost the latter department, having returned from a calf problem to play for the second XI in midweek, but James Anderson is unavailable.

Another England quick not released for county action is Harry Gurney, meaning Nottinghamshire must do without their left-armer when Northamptonshire visit Trent Bridge.

Luke Fletcher and fit-again Andre Adams bolster Notts' pace options in Gurney’s absence, although Jake Ball is sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot.

Northants currently prop up the table on 16 points and will pursue a first victory since their return to Division One.

Veteran batsman David Sales comes into their 12-man squad after scoring 87 against Durham MCCU last week and Maurice Chambers steps in for fellow seamer Olly Stone, who picked up a finger injury in the loss to Lancashire a fortnight ago.

LV= County Championship facts

  • Lancashire have won five and drawn four of their last 10 completed away championship matches against Middlesex, the defeat coming on their last visit in 2012.
  • Nottinghamshire have won seven and drawn five of their last 12 home championship matches against Northamptonshire.
  • The last seven championship matches between Sussex and Durham have produced a winner (Durham four wins, Sussex three).
  • Yorkshire have won five and drawn three of their last nine home championship matches against Warwickshire (lost one).
  • Chris Rogers’ four second-innings scores in the championship this season have been 41, 63 not out, 241 not out and 82.

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