Sussex welcome Surrey to Arundel looking to preserve their position at the top of LV= County Championship Division One – a state of affairs that appeared unlikely as they struggled against Middlesex last week.
A magnificent career-best 187 from all-rounder Luke Wright, pictured, helped Ed Joyce’s men save the game on the final evening at Lord’s and leave the capital with a five-point advantage at the summit.
Middlesex and Yorkshire, who began their own match today, are the teams on their heels, and the prospect of those taking points off each other will make Sussex doubly keen for a return to winning ways following back-to-back draws.
Surrey are without paceman Stuart Meaker, who begins two weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury, and have named Zafar Ansari in their squad for the first time this season after the left-arm-spinning all-rounder concluded his studies for the year at Cambridge University.
Riki Wessels is set to return to the Nottinghamshire team that welcomes Derbyshire after being preferred to out-of-form opener Alex Hales.
Talismanic seamer Andre Adams is back in the fray for the hosts having been sidelined by a calf problem since April, while Ed Cowan will make his final championship appearance before joining up with Australia’s Ashes squad.
Derbyshire make the short trip for a first four-day fixture at Trent Bridge since a rain-affected draw in 2007 and will be buoyed by a 63-run triumph over Essex in the Yorkshire Bank 40 on Sunday.
Durham are only 12.5 points off the summit and, with the title race warming up nicely, Paul Collingwood leads a squad unchanged from last week’s draw with Somerset at Taunton against Warwickshire at Emirates Durham ICG.
The defending champions are off the pace at present and head north with the same XI that impressed but could not force victory against Surrey at Guildford.
In Division Two, leaders Northamptonshire are already in action at Leicestershire and Essex and Lancashire will hope not to lose any more ground when fourth hosts third at Chelmsford.
New Zealand Test opener Hamish Rutherford will make his first championship appearance for Essex and may see off at least one debutant in the Red Rose seam-bowling department with winter signing Kabir Ali and rookie all-rounder Luis Reece named in a four-day squad for the first time.
Owais Shah will make his 2013 first-class bow following a stint in the Indian Premier League and Sajid Mahmood could also feature for his former country as Essex look to avenge a dramatic final-day defeat suffered at Emirates Old Trafford last month.
Pakistan all-rounder Sohail Tanvir is in the Hampshire squad for the first time to face Gloucestershire, while fellow seamer Chris Wood is back in contention after injury ruled him out of the draw against Kent.
The visitors have opener Chris Dent and all-rounder Will Gidman back in the fray after they made successful returns from respective back and ankle problems for the second XI.
Mitchell Claydon is poised for a debut, bolstering a Kent seam department deprived of Mark Davies, Adam Ball and Ivan Thomas through injury for the trip to Glamorgan. The club have also confirmed Matt Coles’ absence for personal reasons.
Off-spinner Adam Riley will deputise for England’s James Tredwell once more as Kent chase a maiden win this term having claimed career-best figures against Hampshire.
The hosts are sweating on the fitness of Marcus North, pictured, after the experienced Australian batsman sustained a tricep problem in the weekend YB40 match with the Unicorns, while Will Owen has been called into the squad on account of John Glover’s finger injury.