England trio set for LV=CC action
England Test captain Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn will make their first appearances of the season for Middlesex when they host Durham at Lord’s in the latest round of LV= County Championship fixtures.
The duo, who have enjoyed a brief break following England’s tour of Sri Lanka, are included in a 13-man party that will be captained by Chris Rogers, with regular skipper Neil Dexter having temporarily stood down in a bid to recapture his best batting form.
Finn replaces fellow paceman Corey Collymore, who is rested as part of the club’s rotation policy, while Steven Crook has been called up as cover as Gareth Berg battles a chest infection. The latter is set to be assessed on the morning of the match.
Middlesex will be aiming to follow up a thrilling three-run triumph over rivals Surrey, their first win since they returned to Division One.
Durham welcome back Paul Collingwood, who missed the loss against Nottinghamshire due to a virus but has now recovered and is part of a 13-man squad.
Surrey are without South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph for the visit of Worcestershire, the left-hander having been withdrawn from selection due to family reasons.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Davies, who returned to domestic action last week following his commitments with England, admits Surrey are desperate to follow their narrow defeat to Middlesex with victory over his former county.
“It was probably one of the hardest losses in my career,” Davies told ecb.co.uk.
“We battled so hard for three days, both teams went at it and it was a really good game of cricket. It came down to three runs in the end so it was a pretty tough loss to take.
“We won our first game against Sussex while I was away so won one, lost one is not too bad and we’ve got a big game this week against Worcestershire. We have to look forward now and forget about what happened at Lord’s.”
Worcestershire, who were not in championship action last week, will hope to improve on their defeat at Nottinghamshire in the opening round.
Defending LV= County Champions Lancashire will hope to bounce back from a 10-wicket thumping at the hands of Sussex in their opening fixture when they play host to Warwickshire.
The match will take place at Aigburth, where the Red Rose were dismissed for 124 and 176 last week on a juicy pitch providing assistance to the seamers.
Overseas batsman Ashwell Prince, a half-centurion in Lancashire’s second innings, said: “We expect conditions to be similar, so it’s going to be tough for the team who bats first again.”
A hamstring injury continues to keep all-rounder Tom Smith out of contention for Lancashire. Seamer Oliver Newby and veteran spinner Gary Keedy join the 11 players who featured against Sussex.
Warwickshire, who kicked off their campaign with a home victory over Somerset, are able to call on England batsman Ian Bell for the first time this year.
Early leaders Nottinghamshire will look to maintain their 100 per cent record when they welcome Somerset to Trent Bridge.
Left-arm seamer Harry Gurney could make his debut for Notts, having joined from Leicestershire over the close season.
Lewis Gregory, fit again following a back injury, or Craig Meschede will replace the injured Adam Dibble in the visitors' line-up.
Dibble suffered an intercostal injury against Warwickshire and is expected to be out for a number of weeks.