Table-toppers Yorkshire are set to host Somerset this week on their home turf. The visitors are looking to take as many points as possible away from the meeting in order to ensure their climb away from the relegation zone.
The two captains who come face to face in this match are veterans of the game; Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Gale. Both are fully aware of the overcast and damp conditions that so frequently affect September County Championship matches.
This could play into the hands of both teams though as their front-line seam bowlers are put to the test under the Leeds skies; the home trio of Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Steve Patterson have a habit of ripping through the opposition unceremoniously. For the visitors, Jamie Overton and his 42.67 wicket taking average could cause some problems for the host side with his pacey bowling. The presence of his twin brother Craig Overton will hardly offer respite to Yorkshire’s batsmen.
With four matches remaining in the Championship this season, and Yorkshire within touching distance of the trophy for the second year on the bounce – and of course the Yorkshire weather allows for it – the host team will be hoping they can secure the title as early in September as possible. Especially with the pressure of the One Day Cup Semi-Final bearing down on them next weekend.
Luke Ronchi is the quite the cricketer. He joined Somerset in June of this year to replace compatriot Corey Anderson for the last stint of the Natwest T20 Blast. Whilst he may not have contributed a huge amount in these closing matches, his international record speaks for itself – he has played just the on Test for his country but scored 88 and 41. In the 50 over format, his highest score is 170*and T20 51*, his not-too-shabby averages in the two formats respectively are 26.25 and 25.66.
The most-recent choice for England opener Adam Lyth sadly did not make the impact those who have watched him at Yorkshire had hoped for. A return to his home situation, however, should allow for some of those runs he is infamous on the county circuit for scoring so easily.
Yorkshire welcome back their opening batsman Adam Lyth along with first-pick wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow; Jack Leaning and Andrew Hodd miss out as a result. Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett have been exchanged for the Lyth and Bairstow and are now with the England squad for the limited overs competition. James Middlebrook comes back into the side alongside Aaron Finch who is returning from injury.
The only news for the southern visitors is that Michael Bates misses out as Somerset welcome New Zealander Luke Ronchi to the side and hand the gloves over to him.
Yorkshire squad: Andrew Gale (captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Jack Brooks, Aaron Finch, Matthew Fisher, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, James Middlebrook, Steve Patterson, Ryan Sidebottom
Somerset squad: Marcus Trescothick (c), Tom Abell, Jim Allenby, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Jack Leach, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Luke Ronchi (wk), Pete Trego
Umpires: Steve Garratt and Ian Gould
Ground: Headingley, Leeds
Date: Tuesday 1st September – Friday 4th September
Weather and conditions: If the weathermen are correct, it might be best to place your bets on a draw. All four days are set to at least experience intermittent showers but Wednesday is currently set to have rain move in around midday and stick around.
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire 4/11, Somerset 2/1