After the most extraordinary of extended breaks, Durham and Yorkshire finally get their seasons underway in the northern derby at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground. With only five rounds of fixtures in the new Bob Willis trophy, both teams know the importance of getting off to a fast start.
These two sides played a friendly match last week and the Durham bowlers impressed the most, taking twelve wickets in a day, and may take some momentum into this game. Yorkshire’s batting, however, found form the previous week against Lancashire, especially veteran opener Adam Lyth who retired on 108, so it promises to be a great contest between bat and ball.
Yorkshire have strengthened their batting line-up this season with the addition of Dawid Malan, who will be keen to build on his personal pre-season form with early runs in this game. Stating coach Andrew Gale’s unapologetic stance of wanting to win trophies as a huge motivation to him and the rest of the squad.
If Yorkshire are early favourites to challenge in the North Group, Durham will fancy themselves as underdogs. But if they are to be successful this season an early marker is needed, no better opportunity, then this home game.
Durham had made plans to build this year’s team around overseas batsman Cameron Bancroft, however, due to COVID -19 the Aussie is not available. This has meant a change in plans and a change in captaincy. Veteran Ned Eckerlsey will instead take the leadership role.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore could be one to watch this week. The opener has been in the runs in pre-season and has a great talent for taking the attack to the bowlers early doors. It makes him an exciting prospect if he settles into his rhythm early and he could provide a huge headache to Durham skipper Eckersley.
Even though Durham have re-signed Paul Coughlin it could be another all-rounder who spent time away from the county who makes an impact. Ben Raine was exceptional last season with the ball and provided key contributions with the bat as well. Raine’s ability to turn the game on its head within 45 minutes, with either bat or ball, makes him very dangerous.
Durham have been busy in the off-season and welcome batsmen Sean Dickson and David Bedingham to the north east, as well as the return of all-rounder Coughlin from Nottinghamshire. All are included in the match squad and are expected to play.
Promising bowler Brydon Carse hasn’t been made available due to management of his workload after training with England since their bubble began, however he should be available next week against Lancahsire.
Durham Squad: Ned Eckersley (c,wk), David Bedingham, Jack Burnham, Paul Coughlin, Sean Dickson, Gareth Harte, Alex Lees, Matthew Potts, Stuart Poynter, Ben Raine, Chris Rushworth, Matthew Salisbury, Cameron Steel
Yorkshire are without their England internationals Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and David Willey. Also Gary Ballance needs more time to recover after being ill, so will not be in the squad. Jack Shutt, the young off-spinner, is in the squad and is expected to make first-class debut this weekend, a big moment for the 23 year-old from Barnsley.
Yorkshire Squad: Steven Patterson (c), Harry Brook, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Will Fraine, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Duanne Olivier, Jack Shutt, Jonny Tattersall (wk), Jordan Thompson, Matthew Waite
Weather and Conditions:
The weather is positive and largely set fair across all four days, with only a slight chance of a small shower coming in days 1 or 4. Attention may turn downwards towards the wicket itself.
No cricket has been played at Chester-le-Street all summer so it will be interesting to see how the pitch plays. The team that adapts to conditions quickest will have a huge advantage going forward.
Date: 1st – 4th August 2020
Time: 11:00 am
Ground: Emirates Durham ICG
Odds (Sky Bet): Durham 6/4 Yorkshire 8/15