It’s the most anticipated clash of the season for many followers of either flavour of rose, and this season’s first Yorkshire vs Lancashire clash promises to be a particularly exciting one. Just eight points separate the teams after four matches, Yorkshire having racked up three draws and a win whilst Lancashire lead the battle of the Pennines with two victories and two stalemates to their name.
There’d be little objection to the suggestion that this week’s Roses clash pits the in-form batting line-up in the division against the in-form attack. The likes of Joe Root, Dawid Malan and Harry Brook facing an attack of James Anderson, Hasan Ali, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson is a clash worthy of even the most highly anticipated international cricket – did somebody say the County Championship wasn’t a high enough standard?
Perhaps Yorkshire’s key weakness so far this season has been their inability to take 20 wickets. They were left wanting for just three raised fingers against Northamptonshire, and the follow up performances against Kent and Essex were hindered by a weakened pace attack. The trio of Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher and Haris Rauf have all been struck down with injury in recent weeks, and of those at least Fisher is expected to remain unavailable this time out.
Lancashire missed Mahmood and Anderson for their draw against Warwickshire but with no indication that injury was to blame they should both be available for this week’s fixture. Despite talk of their strong attack, Lancashire haven’t exactly been left wanting for runs. Captain Dane Vilas has two centuries to his name already this season, and Josh Bohannon is surely only a couple of performances away from the attentions of Ben Stokes and Rob Key after a career first-class high score of 231 against Gloucestershire.
Yorkshire’s openers have managed just one 50 run stand in six attempts so far this season, and with Dimuth Karunaratne returning to the Sri Lankan side for their series against Bangladesh the opening spot at Yorkshire is likely to fall back into the hands of George Hill. The 21-year-old has looked mature and measured whilst batting at three this season, boasting an average of 46 for the campaign so far which includes a career high score of 151*. During the 2021 season the former England under-19 vice-captain found himself in an opening spot alongside Adam Lyth but averaged just 23.9, so he’ll be hoping his recent form is continued in his step back up the order.
It’s been a joy so far this season to witness the skill on display from the Pakistan international cricketers who are thriving in English conditions. One such success story is that of Hassan Ali whose 24 wickets at an average of 18.5 put him firmly at the top of the Division One wickets table. He is being rested this week but the return of James Anderson and Saqib Mahmood should more than compensate for this.
Yorkshire have Haris Rauf in the squad and hope that he will be fully fit after a side injury ruled him out of last week’s draw at Essex.
Yorkshire squad: Steven Patterson (c), Dom Bess, Harry Brook, Harry Duke (wk), George Hill, Tom Loten, Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Haris Rauf, Matthew Revis, Joe Root, Jordan Thompson.
Lancashire‘s James Anderson and Saqib Mahmood return to the squad after missing last week’s draw against Warwickshire, whilst Hassan Ali is rested.
Lancashire Squad:Dane Vilas (C), James Anderson, Tom Bailey, George Balderson, Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft, Keaton Jennings, Danny Lamb, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, Phil Salt (wk), Luke Wells,
Weather and Conditions
Four full days of championship action should be available to us this week, although the forecast of partial cloud cover will no doubt play on the minds of those east of the Pennines when considering the bowling options available to the Lancashire team. Temperatures will be mild and should pick up as the weekend progresses. Saturday in particular may push the mercury to a balmy 20C.
Skybet: Yorkshire 10/11, Lancashire 4/5