Title-chasing Notts wait on Pattinson
Nottinghamshire go into the penultimate round of matches in LV= County Championship Division One knowing victory over title rivals Yorkshire could seal their first pennant since 2005.
Notts, 22 points ahead of Somerset and 25 in front of Yorkshire before play begins tomorrow morning, hold most of the aces, despite their 210-run defeat to Durham last week.
For all the counties, considerable prize money is also at stake in Division One.
The leaders are hopeful that Darren Pattinson will be fit to take his place in the starting XI. The fast bowler appears to be winning his fitness battle after limping out of the Durham defeat with a sprained ankle. Jake Ball has been included as cover in a 13-man squad.
“If we get four dry days then I am sure there will be a result in the game because the Trent Bridge pitches haven’t been conducive to draws this season,” said Notts director of cricket Mick Newell.
“The winner will be a strong position and the key battle for me will be our top order batsmen against a young Yorkshire seam attack.
“Somerset are still in it but we have no control over how many points they will pick up whereas we have a lot of control over how many points Yorkshire will pick up so we won’t concern ourselves with what is going on elsewhere.
“We’ve put the Durham fixture behind us and addressed any areas of concern and we’re completely focused on Yorkshire.”
Yorkshire are waiting to hear if England fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad will be available to them for any part of the match.
Nottinghamshire squad: Samit Patel, Alex Hales, Mark Wagh, Adam Voges, Ali Brown, Chris Read (captain & wicketkeeper), Steven Mullaney, Paul Franks, Andre Adams, Luke Fletcher, Darren Pattinson, Jake Ball, Neil Edwards.
Apart from Craig Kieswetter's first-day absence with England, and the departure of Zander de Bruyn to play Champions League Twenty20, Somerset will be at full strength for their home clash with Lancashire.
Chris Jones, the 19-year-old batsman, is Kieswetter’s nominated replacement in the order should Somerset bat tomorrow.
"Without wanting to moan, I think it's fair to say we have had the rough end of it with rain in the latter part of the season so perhaps we are due for a change of fortune," said Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose.
Lancashire, 31 points back, need a miracle set of results to enter contention for the title, but their match with Somerset could still prove pivotal.
Notts require only 11 more points to mathematically end Lancashire’s chances of winning the league, while Somerset are likely to go all-out for victory at Taunton.
Somerset squad: Marcus Trescothick (captain), Arul Suppiah, Nick Compton, James Hildreth, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Chris Jones/Craig Kieswetter, Peter Trego, Ben Phillips, Alfonso Thomas, Murali Kartik, Charl Willoughby.
Lancashire squad: Glen Chapple (captain), Karl Brown, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Chilton, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wicketkeeper), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Sajid Mahmood, Gary Montgomery, Luke Procter, Tom Smith.
At the other end of the table, Hampshire travel to Canterbury in the match that could decide the identity of the second relegated side.
Hampshire are just seven points ahead of second-bottom Kent, following their respective defeats to Lancashire and Warwickshire in the last round of games.
Simon Jones is included in the Hampshire squad for what would be the injury-ravaged fast bowler’s first four-day match of the season.
Jones replaces David Balcombe, who misses the trip with a back injury. Youngster, Chris Wood is also included in the squad after impressing with six wickets on championship debut against Lancashire last week.
Hampshire will also play their first match without Neil McKenzie. The South African has headed home to play in the Champions League and will be replaced in the squad by Liam Dawson.
The hosts will be without talented young fast-bowler Ashley Shaw who is recovering having had an operation on his chin and fellow quick, Robbie Joseph who has a shoulder injury.
Hampshire squad: Jimmy Adams, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Simon Jones, Dominic Cork, James Vince, Michael Carberry, Michael Bates, Danny Briggs, James Tomlinson, Chris Wood, Phil Hughes.