After a week of T20 cricket we are back to another round of Championship cricket. The ridiculously hectic schedule which has seen Glamorgan criss-crossing the country up and down and side to side over the last week and Sussex take up residence in the west, has taken its toll on players and stretched squads. The two teams met on Friday night in the Blast and Sussex are able to take a comfortable 20 run victory into this fixture.
Both these teams are undefeated so far in the Championship this season, but each has only managed one win from their seven matches. Sussex currently sit second behind Durham, who are now 32 points clear, their position based on strong batting performances and the accumulation of 23 batting bonus points. Their young side has blossomed under the leadership of Cheteshwar Pujara, but he is now with the Indian team, and he has been replaced by Kiwi seamer Henry Shipley. The loss of Pujara did not stop Sussex making 795 runs across their two innings in a high scoring draw against Worcestershire last time out, although they were indebted to their lower order, the bottom five batters contributing 341. Shipley bolsters a seam attack which includes Australian pace-bowler Nathan McAndrew, who has taken 18 wickets in his four starts, at 24.72. He picked up a groin injury in the last Championship game, which has kept him out of this week’s T20s, and they will be missing Ollie Robinson, who is on Test-duty. He pulled up with an ankle injury during the encounter between the two sides at Hove back in May. On that occasion Glamorgan were dismissed for just 123 in their first innings and Sussex then posted 481, 19-year-old all-rounder James Coles making 138. Sussex were unable to finish the job as Glamorgan scored a massive 737 second time around, the Sussex attack depleted by the absence of Robinson. There were three centurions in the innings, including Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser, both of whom are now with the Australian Ashes squad. Glamorgan also have a packed physio room, with a mounting injury list, especially to their batting line-up. They go into this game without both their first-choice openers, David Lloyd out long-term with a hamstring tear (although he is hoping to be back for the next Championship game) and Eddie Byrom with a hip injury suffered when facing Sussex’s Tymal Mills in a T20 game. Colin Ingram suffered an Achilles injury last week, while all-rounder Dan Douthwaite has been out with a side strain. They will likely stick with the makeshift opening pair of Andrew Salter and Zain ul-Hassan, who posted respectable first wicket stands of 55 and 83 in the last match against Durham. The middle order has been productive with Kiran Carlson currently the top Championship run scorer with 668 at 55.66, including four centuries, alongside Billy Root who is averaging 50.87 and Chris Cooke 46.66. The question will be who fills the number three slot, especially given the nature of the opening duo. New Zealand A batter/keeper, Cam Fletcher has been signed as short-term cover for Ingram in the Blast, but it is not clear if he will be considered for this match.
Despite the absence of Robinson and the potential for McAndrew to be side-lined, Sussex have the stronger bowling line up, with Shipley, Fynn Hudson Prentice, Aristides Karvelas, Henry Crocombe and the off spin of Jack Carson. So far this season Karvelas has 17 wickets at 21.7, Hudson-Prentice 17 at 33.58 and Crocombe 14 at 31.14. With the loss of Neser, Glamorgan’s Timm van der Gugten has been left with a heavy workload that saw him miss four of the T20 games with a side strain. With 31 wickets at 22.09 this season, he is now the main threat with the ball. Jamie McIlroy has been Glamorgan’s most successful bowler in the Blast, and he could be recalled to the Championship side, having missed the Durham match. The remaining seam options of James Harris, Andy Gorvin and ul-Hassan have only 16 wickets in this year’s Championship. Glamorgan have however now signed a replacement for Neser in the form of Queensland leg-spinner, Mitchell Swepson. He provides the specialist red ball spinner that Glamorgan have lacked, having taken 185 first class wickets at 35.53. His last Test match was in Sri Lanka a year ago having taken 10 wickets in his four Tests. Salter will provide an off-spin option, but he has not taken a wicket this season.
Sussex will start this game as clear favourites to record their second win of the campaign and it will need strong resistance from the Glamorgan middle order if they are to hold out for a draw.
Kiran Carlson has stepped up this year, firstly to take over the captaincy from the injured Lloyd and then to rediscover the batting form that deserted him last year. He is the country’s leading Championship run scorer and has been making significant contributions in the Blast. He is also Glamorgan’s leading spin bowler in the Championship, albeit with just six wickets. His captaincy will be tested in this game with the limited bowling options available to him, but more importantly he and the rest of the middle order will need to make significant scores if they are to keep Sussex at bay.
Sussex have not been able to bowl teams out on a regular basis this season in order to achieve the crucial wins and the resultant 16 points, so with the dry weather we have had they will be looking to Jack Carson to step up and make life uncomfortable for the Glamorgan batters. He was part of the England Lions tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year, where he was the top wicket-taker in the two unofficial Tests with nine at 34.77 and he will be hoping to add to his 10 wickets so far this season. The 22-year-old is a rare red ball specialist, not having played a first team list A or T20 match and he will want to demonstrate he has the skills to add to his current tally of 79 first class wickets from 29 matches.
Glamorgan have a much depleted squad bolstered now by the recruitment of Swepson, However their options are limited.
Glamorgan squad: TBC
In contrast, Sussex’s only absentee looks to be McAndrew and they have the seam bowling resources to cope with his absence.
Sussex squad: TBC
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is generally good with temperatures in the mid-twenties. There may be a light shower on day three.
Sophia Gardens has seen some good paced pitches for recent T20 games, but the likelihood is that this game will be played on the more usual relatively slow paced pitch, becoming more placid as the match progresses.
Date: 25th June 2023
Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff