SSCC Preview: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire

SSCC Preview: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire. Pic courtesy of Youtube

 

This is a contest between the top and bottom teams in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship. 

That means very little after just three matches.  What may be more significant is that, when the two sides met just three weeks ago, Warwickshire won by the large margin of an innings and 48 runs.

With added home advantage, the Bears are likely to approach the game in a confident mood. Last weekend, they saw off Derbyshire by eight wickets whereas Northants come into this game having just lost heavily to the Pakistani tourists.

Key Men

For Warwickshire, based on form so far, there are not too many areas for improvement. One, however, is the opening partnership of newcomers Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes. In five  innings apiece, they have compiled only one half-century and their average opening stand is just 18.

That’s clearly not good enough so the Bears will be looking for better returns.  In that context, Sibley’s unbeaten 278 for the second team against Derbyshire earlier this week will not have gone unnoticed.  If he can take that form into the coming match and maybe inspire his opening partner too, that will be a problem solved.

Northants have, in Richard Gleeson, a pace bowler who might just upset the Warwickshire batting line-up.

A late entrant to the first-class game, Gleeson’s call-up to the England Lions showed that his ability is being noticed. He hasn’t quite delivered so far this season but it could be that Edgbaston will be the place where he can showcase what he could offer at a higher level.

Team News

Warwickshire will be without pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom who suffered a side strain in the Derbyshire match. Fortunately for the Bears, both Keith Barker and Olly Stone have recovered from injury and Oliver Hannon-Dalby has been bowling well in the second team. Staffordshire-born off-spinner Alex Thomson also makes the 15-man squad. It will come down to who to leave out from a strong squad. Adam Hose may be unlucky again.

Warwickshire squad: Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Sam Hain,Matt Lamb, Tim Ambrose (wicket keeper), Keith Barker, Jeetan Patel (captain), Chris Wright, Olly Stone, Henry Brookes, Adam Hose, Alex Thomson, Oliver Hannon-Dalby

Northamptonshire have the problem of having to include too many players who are currently under-performing. Ben Duckett has managed just 27 runs in four innings. Adam Rossington, Alex Wakely and Josh Cobb all average below 20. Fortunately, they have long-term records that demonstrate their true ability and there are no strong candidates to unseat them so there are likely to be few changes from the teams that lost to Middlesex and Warwickshire.

Northants squad: Alex Wakely (c), Rob Newton, Ben Duckett, Richard Levi, Rob Keogh, Luke Procter, Adam Rossington, Josh Cobb, Steven Crook, Doug Bracewell, Brett Hutton, Ben Sanderson

Form this season

Warwickshire: WWD

Northants: N/RLL

Weather and conditions

The best advice for spectators is to bring the sun lotion but also some warm clothing because although there will be sunny intervals, the temperature will stay in the mid-teens.

Although it lacked pace, the pitch prepared by Gary Barwell for the Derbyshire match offered a little to everyone. Spinner Jeetan Patel took ten wickets and young paceman Henry Brookes eight  but once batsmen got in, they proved hard to dislodge.

Something similar for this match is likely and should produce a good contest.

Date: 11-14 May 2018

Time: 11.00 am

Ground: Stadium Edgbaston

Umpires: Neil Bainton and Ian Blackwell

Odds (SkyBet): Warwickshire 1/2 ; Northants 13/8

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