Durham make the long trip down to Cardiff for round three of the County Championship, buoyant after their strong finish that led to a win against Worcestershire last week. They sit joint second in Division Two after two rounds and will want to avoid the inconsistent nature of their season last year, in order to maintain a push for promotion. There will want to forget their second innings against Sussex, in the first round, when they were rolled over for 189. David Bedingham, Alex Lees, Michael Jones and Scott Borthwick have all scored runs and the big bonus has been the 12 wickets from Australian, left arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, signed as a late replacement for Todd Murphy. Matthew Potts also picked up six wickets in the Worcestershire game.
Glamorgan had to sit out last week, which seems a ridiculous arrangement given the fact there are an even number of teams in both divisions and they would hardly need to rest after one match. The delay does mean that Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser are now available, having missed the first game. The batters made a solid start to the season, posting 404 in the first innings against Gloucestershire, centuries from Kiran Carlson and Billy Root, both of whom will feel happier after disappointing campaigns in 2022. The form batter of last summer, Sam Northeast injured a finger taking a catch in the Gloucestershire first innings and although the reports were that nothing was broken, he took no further part in the game. Meanwhile the Glamorgan bowling, while running through the Gloucestershire batting in their first innings, Timm van der Gugten taking 5/26, were made to work hard second time around as Gloucestershire posted 569/7 declared. The seam attack was somewhat one paced and they will be glad to have Neser to add a bit of fire. They also lack a strong spin option and may continue to rely on the occasional offerings of Carlson and Labuschagne.
Durham had the better of Glamorgan in last season’s encounters. In the opening round of games, they met in Cardiff and the home team, having conceded a 149 run first innings deficit, were only able to hold on for a draw thanks to the loss of more than 100 overs on the first two days. In the return game, Glamorgan established a 54 run first innings lead and when Durham were bowled out for 249 in their second innings, it appeared that the Welshmen had established a winning position. However, Potts had other ideas and returned figures of 7/40 to help dismiss Glamorgan for just 137.
Glamorgan will be strengthened by the arrival of Labuschagne and Neser, but Durham look to have batters scoring runs and a more potent bowling threat, so should start favourites.
This week will see the return of Michael Neser to the Glamorgan bowling line up and given the lack of penetration seen during the Gloucestershire second innings in week one, his presence will be welcomed by the home supporters. He recently picked up the Sheffield Shield Player of the Season award, thanks to 40 wickets alongside 357 runs in the competition. In last season’s County Championship, he took 37 wickets at 25.16 and Glamorgan will hope he has fully recovered from the ankle injury suffered during Queensland’s warm-up for their game against Tasmania a month ago.
David Bedingham joined Durham in 2020 and in 2021 made 1029 championship runs at 60.52. Last season’s return was a commendable 664 runs at 47.42 and he is already finding the middle of the bat this summer, having scored 204 runs in the game against Worcestershire. The 27-year-old is yet to convince the South African selectors of his worth and will be keen to pile on the runs again this season.
Neser and Labuschagne will join the squad, with Colin Ingram stepping down. We assume Northeast will be fit.
Glamorgan squad (probable): David Lloyd (c), Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Dan Douthwaite, Marnus Labuschagne, Jamie McIlroy, Michael Neser, Sam Northeast, Harry Podnore, Billy Root, Andrew Salter, Timm van der Gugten.
Brydon Carse was omitted from last week’s squad, at the request of the ECB and he should return. It may be that Durham will want to rotate their seam bowlers and new signing Brandon Glover could therefore make his debut.
Durham squad (from): Scott Borthwick (c), David Bedingham, Jonathan Bushnell, Brydon Carse, Graham Clark, Paul Coughlin, Brandon Glover, Michael Jones, Matt Kuhnemann, Alex Lees, Ben McKinney, Matthew Potts, Ben Raine, Ollie Robinson (wk)
Weather and Conditions
There is a risk of light showers throughout the four days, but the hope is that there will not be too many disruptions.
Any help for the bowlers is likely to come early on, with the pitch flattening out and getting slower as the game progresses.
Date: 20th April 2023
Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Odds (SkyBet): N/A