The promotion spots from Division Two are still undecided as we enter the final week of the Championship.
While Nottinghamshire can be fairly confident of holding on to a promotion spot, they are no longer in firm control of the top position in Division Two following their defeat last week to Worcestershire, who this week take on second placed Middlesex. Middlesex are nine points behind Nottinghamshire, with Glamorgan a further nine points back. There is therefore still plenty at stake.
Sussex have had a disappointing season, registering just one win alongside six defeats. They have a young team captained by 23-year-old Tom Haines and have been without their main strike bowler, Ollie Robinson for much of the season. They have also lost the services of Indian overseas batter, Cheteshwar Pujara who has been replaced by Pakistani all rounder Faheem Ashraf. They did make the semi-finals of the Royal London cup but lost their last Championship match to Durham by an innings and 140 runs. Their batting, especially when Pujara was available, has posted some reasonable totals, with Tom Alsop, Ollie Carter and Ali Orr all averaging over 40. The bowling has been less effective, Robinson still being the top wicket-taker with 17 in just three matches played, followed by Sean Hunt with 15 at 42.86.
Glamorgan have had fluctuating fortunes in recent weeks, escaping with a draw against Worcestershire thanks to rain and then suffering a heavy defeat to Middlesex. In their last game they beat fellow promotion challengers Derbyshire by an innings and 24 runs to keep their promotion hopes alive. Despite the loss of Marnus Labuschagne and Colin Ingram, their batting has generally prospered with Sam Northeast and Eddie Byrom both averaging over 50 and Indian opener, Shubman Gill likely to be back after illness kept him out of the last match. Skipper, David Lloyd has also found some form having made an unbeaten 313 against Derbyshire. New Zealand spinner, Ajaz Patel took a fifer in the same game and should pose problems for the Sussex batters alongside veteran Michael Hogan (see photo above), playing his last professional game of cricket. He has taken 652 wickets in all formats for Glamorgan since he arrived in South Wales ten years ago and will undoubtedly be looking to add a few more before he hangs up his boots.
When the two sides met back in June, Glamorgan came out on top thanks to big centuries from Eddie Byrom and Colin Ingram and a batting collapse by Sussex in their second innings. 20-year-old Oliver Carter was the main contributor for Sussex with the bat, amassing 268 runs in the game. He has had a productive season scoring 629 runs at 41.93. Off-spinner, Andrew Salter was the main wicket-taker for Glamorgan with 6/142.
Glamorgan will be motivated to keep the pressure on Middlesex for promotion and will start as clear favourites.
Sussex have recruited Pakistani all-rounder Faheem Ashraf for their last three Championship matches. Bowling medium-fast he has a first class average of 29.99 and a Test average of 34.08. However, it is more as a white ball specialist that he has earned international honours, having played 42 T20 internationals and 31 ODIs. Since his arrival in Hove he has taken just 2/211, but with Henry Crocombe ruled out by a shoulder injury suffered against Durham, Sussex will be looking to Ashraf for a bigger impact this week.
David Lloyd has had a tough season with the bat, having taken over the captaincy role this season. Before the last game he had scored just 530 runs at 24.09. He has moved up to the top of the order because of a lack of specialist openers, with the aim to get the innings off to a positive start, but has been unable to provide a consistent platform. His triple century in the last game will undoubtedly boost his confidence for this key encounter.
Injuries to their pace bowlers throughout the season has led Sussex to take a number of players on loan. The loss of Crocombe will be a further headache. Ari Karvelas (knee), Steven Finn (knee) and Archie Lenham (back) are also unavailable due to injuries. George Garton is unavailable for selection due to Long Covid.
Sussex squad: Tom Alsop, Faheem Ashraf, Jack Carson, Oli Carter, Tom Clark, James Coles, Brad Currie, Tom Haines (c), Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Sean Hunt, Dan Ibrahim, Ali Orr, Charlie Tear
Glamorgan name an unchanged squad. They opted to play five bowlers in their last game, with Salter coming in for Kiran Carlson. Gill should be back after illness and Sam Northeast is in the squad having missed the last three days of the Derbyshire game for personal reasons.
Glamorgan squad: David Lloyd (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Shubman Gill, Andrew Gorvin, James Harris, Michael Hogan, Sam Northeast, Ajaz Patel, Billy Root, Andrew Salter, Timm van der Gugten.
Weather and Conditions
While the temperatures are set to drop the forecast is generally fine.
Hove has produced high scoring encounters this season and the captain winning the toss is likely to want to bat first..
Date: 26th – 29th September 2022
Ground: The 1st Central County Ground, Hove
Odds (SkyBet): Sussex 6/4; Glamorgan 5/9