Durham are back in Chester-le-Street for the second round of championship matches, where they face Worcestershire. The Pears will be buoyed following a strong all round performance against Derbyshire, coming out winners by eight wickets, while Durham travelled back from the south coast following defeat to Sussex on the back of a second innings batting collapse. The loss was despite a 41 run first innings lead.
Following the upset at Headingley in round one, it is a brave person who will make predictions about results in Division Two this season and clearly most of the counties will consider themselves as promotion contenders. These two teams have the ability to win games thanks to the wicket-taking bowlers at their disposal and for both it was new signings that led the way last time out. Matthew Waite has moved from Yorkshire to Worcestershire in the off-season and the 27-year-old seam bowling all rounder took 4/50 in Derbyshire’s first innings before contributing a century with the bat. Australian left arm spinner, Matt Kuhnemann was a late signing for Durham and ended with six wickets in their game.
Both counties also have strong batting line ups. Alex Lees and Michael Jones have made a good start at the top of the Durham order, while Worcestershire have resigned experienced Pakistani batter Azhar Ali. This has the makings of a tight contest, and much may depend on who wins the toss.
Matthew Potts will want a strong start to the season in order to push himself forward in the England selectors’ minds. With 58 first class wickets at 17.87 last summer, he was third in the rankings and will want to improve on his 2/137 last week.
25-year-old Josh Tongue is also on the England radar having been involved in the England A tour to Sri Lanka over the winter. He made an immediate impact, taking five wickets in the first innings of the Test against Sri Lanka A. His ability to bowl left arm seam at 90mph makes him a real threat, but he has had to fight back from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the game for 15 months and almost ended his career. If he can stay fit he will undoubtedly be a handful for opposition batters.
Durham were without captain Steve Borthwick in their last game due to him not having recovered fully from a finger injury. Given he was named in the squad, it seems likely he will back for this match.
Durham squad: TBC
Following their win against Derbyshire, Worcestershire seem unlikely to make any changes to their squad.
Worcestershire squad: TBC
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is for rain and cool temperatures for the first two days, with improvement over the weekend.
Chester-le-Street has a reputation for creating conditions favouring the seam bowlers and the weather forecast is likely to make the toss a key factor in this game.
Date: 13th April 2023
Ground: Chester-le-Street, Durham
Odds (SkyBet): N/A