Headingley will again be under the spotlight after all four days of last week’s Specsavers County Championship opener against champions Essex were abandoned without a ball being bowled.
That was despite the fact that there wasn’t much rainfall during the final three days of the match, but the outfield remained too wet to allow any play. Questions were asked about the quality of the drainage, questions which were quickly batted away by Yorkshire.
They will be pleased therefore that the weather has improved significantly and their Championship campaign can begin in earnest against Nottinghamshire this week.
Peter Moores side did take to the field in the opening round and secured a superb victory in a rain-affected clash against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Despite play in the match being restricted to little over a day and a half, that was enough time for 34 wickets to fall as Notts came out on top over last season’s second-place side. Chasing a victory target of just 10, they did manage to lose four wickets in pursuit of that modest target.
But the outstanding performances of bowlers Jake Ball and Harry Gurney, who claimed nine and eight wickets in the match respectively, were enough to give the newly-promoted side a perfect start to the season.
Notts will therefore enter this clash with plenty of confidence against a Yorkshire side who will fear they could be slightly undercooked after last week’s washout.
But it is the White Rose who have had the better of the recent record between these two sides and are unbeaten in the last nine meetings. Notts have also only won four matches at Headingley since the Championship officially started in 1890.
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has had to wait a week to get his chance to cement his status with the Yorkshire faithful. Nicknamed ‘Steve’ from his previous stints at the club, Pujara is one of the world’s best Test batsmen and will want to make an immediate impression in this clash with Notts.
There are many seamers around the country with an eye on England but Jake Ball might be ahead of the queue. He will be itching for a return to the Test team and taking match figures of 9-57 last week will only have strengthened his claims. Ball bowled with pace, accuracy and exploited conditions beautifully. He will be a threat at Headingley.
Ben Coad has shaken off fitness concerns and will feature in an attack lead by Jack Brooks. Steve Patterson and Matt Fisher remain sidelined.
Yorkshire Squad: Gary Ballance (C), Tim Bresnan, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Ben Coad, Andrew Hodd (wk), Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Cheteshwar Pujara, Josh Shaw, Matthew Waite
Matt Milnes has been added to the squad from last week but there seems little reason for Notts to make any changes from their win at Old Trafford.
Nottinghamshire Squad: Steven Mullaney (c), Jake Ball, Luke Fletcher, Mark Footitt, Harry Gurney, Jake Libby, Matt Milnes, Tom Moores (wk), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, Billy Root, Ross Taylor, Riki Wessels, Luke Wood
Weather and Conditions
Other than the potential for a touch of rain late on Saturday, it’s set to be dry and sunny for most of the match at Headingley. It’s a ground that tends to offer swing and will encourage the bowlers.
Date: 20th – 23rd April 2018
Ground: Emerald Headingley
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire 4/5, Nottinghamshire 1/1