Northamptonshire are looking to bounce back from their agonising one run defeat to Yorkshire last week, as they welcome Sussex to Wantage Road.
The two sides currently occupy third and fourth in Group 3 and will still hold ambitions of finishing in the top 2 in the group. Northants had a thrilling victory against Glamorgan in their last home game but have been beaten by both Lancashire & Yorkshire, who are the two sides above them in the table.
Sussex have already played Lancashire twice and last week at Hove they held a 98-run on first innings, but a second innings collapse left the Red Rose with a target of 255 in the fourth innings. They chased it down for the loss of 5 wickets, thanks to an unbeaten 91* from Keaton Jennings.
It was the second successive game in which Sussex were left to rue a poor second innings, having been bowled out for just 186 when chasing 234 to beat Yorkshire.
The last Championship meeting between the two sides came in May 2019, when a record breaking partnership of 309 between Ben Brown & Chris Jordan was the headline act in a high scoring draw at Wantage Road.
This game – and the reverse fixture at the end of the month – looks key in determining the finishing positions for both these two counties in Group 3.
There was much excitement at Northants when they announced Wayne Parnell as an overseas signing for 2021. The former South African all rounder is available all season and in all formats, and hit the ground running at Headingley last week. He took 5 wickets in both innings, with some eye catching swing bowling, and was very nearly the hero with the bat. Parnell made a battling 33 coming in at number 8 and was last man out as Northants fell short by the narrowest of margins.
While many people who have seen Sussex in 2021 have been impressed by the form of Ollie Robinson, 20-year old off spinner Jack Carson has been the pick of the Sussex bowlers in their last two fixtures. The Irishman, who made his first class debut during the Bob Willis Trophy last summer, impressed with figures of 5-85 against Yorkshire and took seven wickets in the match against Lancashire last week. Spin played a part in the previous fixture at Northampton and could well do so again in this one.
David Ripley has named two changes to his side this week. Adam Rossington returns from injury alongside Nathan Buck.
Northamptonshire Squad: Adam Rossington (c/wk), Gareth Berg, Nathan Buck, Ben Curran, Brandon Glover, Rob Keogh, Simon Kerrigan, Wayne Parnell, Luke Procter, Ben Sanderson, Tom Taylor, Charlie Thurston, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Saif Zaib
Travis Head is named in this week’s Sussex squad and could very well make his debut. Ollie Robinson is named after resting last week against Lancashre and this week, George Garton sits on the bench. Will Beer and Ali Orr will be busy with a 2nd XI match, and Mitch Claydon, Sean Hit and Phil Salt are all out injured.
Sussex Squad: Ben Brown (captain, wicketkeeper), Jamie Atkins, Jack Carson, Tom Clark, Henry Crocombe, Tom Haines, Travis Head, Stuart Meaker, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Robinson (vice-captain), Joe Sarro, Aaron Thomason, Stiaan van Zyl
Weather and conditions
The first two days of this match should avoid any interruption, but the weather appears unsettled over the weekend with Saturday in danger of being a complete wash out. There is the chance for showers on Sunday as well. The pitches in the opening two matches at Northampton have favoured the batsman, with Northants chasing down 356 in just 73 overs to win the last fixture at the ground against Glamorgan.
Date: 6th-9th May
Ground: Wantage Road