Cricket

County Championship preview: August 2-5

Luke Wright is back in action with Sussex. (©GettyImages)
Luke Wright is back in action with Sussex. (©GettyImages).

Cricket fans can now prepare for the continuation of the County Championship after the culmination of the Twenty20 group stages, and while the crowds might diminish, the quality on show certainly won't.

The midsummer programme, with its high volume of limited overs cricket, is a great opportunity for teams to field younger players. Yet now it is back to the serious business of the four-day game. 

For some counties, the break in the Championship calendar can serve as a welcome interval, which allows them to regroup and focus on the second half of the campaign. However, winning teams near the top of the division, can also lose momentum as they chase promotion or the Division One title. 

That could certainly be the case for Sussex, who are currently second in the top division, although they have played more games than the teams around them. Nevertheless, they should be pleased to return to action at home to Derbyshire this week. The recently-promoted side have not had much success this year, and they are rooted to the bottom of the league.

With Luke Wright in the side, Sussex will have a good chance of inflicting an eighth defeat of the season on the visitors. The England all-rounder has been in inspired form, averaging 65, and also scoring a career-best 187 at Middlesex.

Meanwhile Lord's will host yet another tense encounter between two teams on the periphery of the title race when Durham visit Neil Dexter's side. Less than five points separate the pair, and both counties will want to go for the win to launch a late attack on the Championship. 

Captain Paul Collingwood has recovered from a thumb injury and looks set to return to action in what is a crucial encounter.

Somerset also have a crucial game against Nottinghamshire at Taunton, where the West Country boys could use a win to propel themselves away from the relegation zone. They currently sit precariously above Surrey by just two points, and will also looking to their players with International experience to produce a result.

Marcus Trescothick hasn't enjoyed the best of seasons with the bat, and has yet to score a first-class century in 2013. But the opener has been in professional cricket for two decades now, which means you can never count him out from producing a big knock when it matters most.

Another positive for the hosts is the form of Jos Buttler - the wicket keeper has seemingly benefited from his England exposure, and he is averaging nearly 40 with the bat this summer.

However, reverting to the routine of four-day matches does not signal the season's end for limited over matches. The T20 quarter finals take place next week, and this Friday will see Surrey take on Essex at the Oval in a YB40 game.

This day-nighter gives the home side - who are currently languishing in sixth place - the chance to draw level on points with the Eagles, who they overcame in a 20-over match yesterday. Jade Dernbach in particular, will be looking to maintain the great form that he showed with his performance that yielded figures of 22/2 at Chelmsford.

The Ashes series might well be captivating the nation, but there is plenty of other quality cricket to be witnessed at a county ground near you.

County Championship Division One fixtures August 2-5:

Middlesex v Durham - Lord's

Somerset v Nottinghamshire - Taunton 

Sussex v Derbyshire - Hove

Yorkshire v Warwickshire - Leeds

County Championship Division Two fixtures August 2-5:

Hampshire v Glamorgan - Southampton  

Leicestershire v Lancashire - Leicester

Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire - Northampton

Worcestershire v Kent - Worcester

 

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