• Specsavers County Championship 4m

    Stars set to shine for day-night Championship round

    The stars will be out in force in the Specsavers County Championship this week as all 18 counties take part in the inaugural round of day-night fixtures.

    It will be a star-studded affair in the Specsavers County Championship this week as all 18 counties take part in the inaugural round of day-night fixtures.

    England Test captain Joe Root leads a host of international talent, as a full set of floodlit matches come to the domestic red-ball format for the first time in England.

    All matches will start at 2pm BST.

    Division One

    Essex v Middlesex
    The champions elect take on the current title-holders at Chelmsford, as Essex look to maintain their unbeaten run since returning to Division One. Alastair Cook will play his last Championship match before rejoining England for the Test series with South Africa, while Pakistan quick Mohammad Amir is set to make his debut for the club fresh off winning the Champions Trophy. Tom Westley (Essex) will be available for the first two days of the fixture, before linking up with the England Lions for their final encounter with South Africa A. Middlesex have not taken this option with Sam Robson though. Tom Helm is unavailable for Middlesex, with the four pace bowlers involved in the Lions being rested ahead of the match. They do welcome back Dawid Malan and Nick Gubbins following their involvement with England and England Lions, respectively.

    Hampshire v Somerset
    Somerset go in search of their first Championship win of the season with a trip to Hampshire, who will have the services of spinning all-rounder Liam Dawson back in the side after his England commitments. Fast bowler Reece Topley looks to add to his two Championship appearances in 2017 after being recalled to the 13-man squad in place of Michael Carberry. Jamie Overton doesn't feature in the visitor's line-up, having been selceted for the England lions and before picking up an unfortunate injury.

    Warwickshire v Lancashire
    Warwickshire will have to get past James Anderson and the pink ball if they are to secure their first Championship victory of the summer. The seam bowler visits Edgbaston, the ground where England will contest their first day-night Test match in September off a sterling perofrmance with the abll in Lancashire's second innings of their win over Hants. The hosts, meanwhile, hope the change in fixture time may bring about a change of luck, as they try to move out of the relegation spots.

    Yorkshire v Surrey
    Surrey aim to get back to winning ways when they travel to Headingley, but come up against a strong Yorkshire side, reinforced by the return of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, as well as Adil Rashid continuing his Championship stint having played in the defeat at Lord’s last week. Gary Ballance is set to lead the White Rose for the first two days, prior to captaining the England Lions, with Tim Bresnan coming back in the team and taking on the armband for the rest of the match. Jason Roy could play his first Championship match of the season for Surrey if selected, while they will also be able to call on Ben Foakes, Mark Stoneman and the Curran brothers, who are back from successful international call-ups.

    Division Two

    Durham v Worcestershire
    Durham enter the encounter against Worcestershire off the back of their first Championship win of 2017 with a bumper rota of players to select from as Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, and returnee Tom Latham are all included in the squad. They’ll be encouraged further by their run of 11-games unbeaten at home versus Worcestershire, dating back to 1995. But Worcestershire will feel confident of getting a victory, too, following their battling win over Kent last week. Moeen Ali is in the team once again, while Tom Fell will come in for Joe Clarke after the first two days of the match, when Clarke joins the England Lions. And it will be a notable return to Emirates Riverside for John Hastings, who quickly became a fans favourite during a season there.

    Glamorgan v Derbyshire
    A successful spell with Derbyshire comes to an end at Glamorgan for Sri Lankan spinner Jeevan Mendis. He’s picked up 25 wickets in the Championship so far, the second highest by a spinner in the competition. Luis Reece could make an appearance, after recovering from a viral infection, however Hardus Viljoen and Will Davis miss out through injury. Glamorgan are also revitalised by the return of influential pair Timm van der Gugten and Chris Cooke.

    Northamptonshire v Leicestershire
    Northamptonshire have won four out of their last five Championship home matches and will be hoping to make it a five from six when Leicestershire make the trip to Wantage Road. They sit fourth in Division Two and still harbour dreams of being promoted back to the top division. It’s all change for the Foxes, though, who switch up their top-order with the introduction of Arun Harinath, on loan from Surrey, and the return of Neil Dexter. Another Surrey loanee, bowler Mathew Pillans, is also expected to start.

    Notinghamshire v Kent
    Stuart Broad misses the day-night game through injury, as the England bowler is rested to protect a knock to his heel. However Alex Hales is available following England duties, and is the only change in the Notts line-up attempting to extend their lead at the top of Division Two. Meanwhile, Australia international James Pattinson is making his last Championship appearance for the club, after taking 28 wickets at 10.80. Despite losing in their most recent match, Kent will feel buoyed by the performance of the batsmen, in particular Joe Denly for his defiant double hundred. With second-placed Worcestershire facing a formidable Durham outfit, Kent will know victory will move them up into the promotion places.

    Sussex v Gloucestershire
    Ben Brown leads the Sussex team for the first time since being named skipper of the red-ball team. He’ll have to start his captaincy without bowlers Vernon Philander (with South Africa) or George Garton (England Lions). Into the squad comes quicks Abi Sakande, who claimed a five-for against South Africa A recently, and Stuart Whittingham. There are no such selection worries for Gloucestershire, with coach Richard Dawson picking the same side that drew with Nottinghamshire, plus the return of a fit-again Liam Norwell.

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