Crushing wins, late in the day victories and battling draws all lit up week 3 of the County Championship season. The quality on show in the first three weeks has been unquestionable and you had to be seriously performing to make it into the deepextracover.com team of the week.
1. Ben Slater (Nottinghamshire) 225
Your maiden first-class double century is always significant, but this was match defining for Notts and meant that Durham were put to the sword. Top of the order runs were crucial, and Slater delivered, almost singlehandedly outscoring Durham’s entire first-innings total. Peter Moores was effusive in his praise for an innings against a strong Durham bowling attack.
2. Shan Masood (Derbyshire) 219
Back-to-back double centuries for Masood, and back-to-back team of the week nominations. Masood’s double century set up an innings win against Leicestershire, and he did it in style. 219 runs off 268 balls took the game out of Leicestershire’s hands and Masood’s contributions so far are giving Mickey Arthur’s men a serious platform to build on.
3. Josh Bohannon (Lancashire) 231
If you’re English qualified and you score a century then you’re automatically the next big thing; but the chat surrounding Bohannon has been growing for a while now, and a career best here means he’s now averaging 47.5 in First-Class cricket. You would imagine the new England coach will be taking a closer look. Bohannon shared a fourth wicket stand of 214 with captain Dane Vilas which enabled Lancashire to declare on 556/7, and despite stiff resistance that was too much for Gloucestershire.
4. Tom Abell (Somerset) 150*, 53
Tom Abell’s recent form has been poor. A well-documented run of low scores have seen people pull away from England chatter and worry about where Tom is headed. Somerset needed more from their captain. But form is temporary, class is permanent and even in a losing cause it was Abell’s runs that held Somerset together and kept them in the game. That Surrey only won by three wickets was down to Abell’s big contributions.
5. Brett D’Oliveria (c) (Worcestershire) 169*, 2-2
When D’Oliveria was made captain of Worcestershire at the start of the season it looked like an experienced and popular player taking the role to allow others to shine. Not a bit of it. Having made a century in round one, D’Oliveria smashed 169, to set up the game for Worcestershire’s bowlers. Once they’d bowled Sussex out, they then had the bravery to enforce the follow on and then as all good captain’s do, D’Oliveria came on to take the final two wickets of the game.
6. Harry Brook (Yorkshire) 84, 77*
While George Hill made his maiden century, it is the consistent excellence of Harry Brook which is catching the eye at Yorkshire. It’s not just the runs either, it’s the manner of them. 84 from 112 balls in the first innings and 77 off 63 in the second when setting up a declaration are signs of a player who is in form and who is maturing into one who can adapt to the game situation. Yorkshire couldn’t force the win over Northants, but it wasn’t through lack of effort from Brook.
7. Michael Burgess (wk) (Warwickshire) 170, 8 catches
So far this season Burgess has batted twice, and each time he’s made massive scores. 178 first time out vs Surrey and 170 here against Essex. These are two top quality bowling attacks which Burgess had been largely untroubled by and his place in the side, threatened by the arrival of Alex Davies, has never looked more secure. When you consider that Warwickshire only made 385 in their first innings, Burgess’ contribution was huge, and ensured that the Bears had a lead of over 200.
8. Keith Barker (Hampshire) 6-53, 1-74 & 44*
The Hampshire left armer just seems to keep on going! Barker has had a blistering start to the season, and it was his six-wicket haul in Kent’s first innings which prevented them from building on Daniel Bell-Drummond’s big hundred. Barker then hit quick runs (44 from 36), to accelerate Hampshire to a declaration. While he only took one wicket in the second dig, it was the key wicket of Ben Compton, and from there Hampshire went on to win comfortably.
9. Liam Patterson-White (Nottinghamshire) 5-54, 2-7
I wrote earlier this week that Patterson-White’s contributions were welcome but not going to be enough for Nottinghamshire to win games. Shows what I know!
While Notts’ seamers have taken time to get going, Patterson-White has been effective from the start. Five wickets in the first innings and two more in the second suggest that while James Pattinson, Dane Paterson and the soon-to-play Stuart Broad will occupy many batsmen’s thinking; it’s LPW who is making match winning contributions at the moment.
10. Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex) 3-34, 5-40
Opening the bowling with Shaheen Shah-Afridi probably means people aren’t watching you as much as they might! But while Afridi certainly shone, it was Roland-Jones who tore Glamorgan to shreds to set up a win in just over two days. Match figures of 8-74 remind us all of why he was selected by England in the first place and of his success in his brief spell in the side. Roland-Jones’ accuracy and movement was too much for the Glamorgan batsmen and the aforementioned new-ball partnership is not one many top order batsmen will be looking forward to facing.
11. Hassan Ali (Lancashire) 6-47, 3-49
Nine wickets in the match. Outshining England’s greatest. Taking the winning wicket after a long battle with Gloucestershire. County Championship Cricket – completed it!
Pre-match, all the talk here was all about the return of Jimmy Anderson, but it was Ali who was on song. Serious pace allied with prodigious swing is always going to be in fashion, and the talk here was of in ducking deliveries reminiscent of Wasim and Waqar. Ali looks like an outstanding signing already and if he gets to learn a few things from Jimmy Anderson he may only get better.