Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Sussex

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Sussex

Sussex will be looking for a third win in Cardiff

Sussex have won their last two games and will be hopeful of continuing the run against a Glamorgan side that has struggled in their last two outings. Sussex look to have the beating of their opponents in both batting and bowling, although the typically benign pitches at Sophia Gardens may have the last word.

Glamorgan’s ambitions of challenging for a promotion place have fallen by the wayside as their bowling attack has shown itself to be relatively toothless. They have been heavily reliant on the Michaels, Hogan and Neser over the last 10 years and Mir Hamza has not been able to produce the same level of performance with just four wickets at 68. They have not been helped by the absence of Timm van der Gugten and Harry Podmore for the first five games and there is no news of when they will return. Van der Gugten was Glamorgan’s leading wicket taker last season and his absence significantly weakens an attack that is no more than military medium in pace. The spin threat that Mason Crane was hoped to bring has been sporadic, his five wickets in the last match costing 152 runs at 6.56 per over. The batters have also been inconsistent, tending to give their wickets up too easily, resulting in just five batting bonus points compared to Sussex’s 16. However Sam Northeast was back in the runs last week with a century against Yorkshire to help save the game, having had five low scores following his triple century in the first match. Colin Ingram has also made a solid start to the season with 467 runs at 93.4, but he will need to make way for Marnus Labuschagne in a couple of weeks, unless they feel Hamza’s services are no longer required. What will worry the Glamorgan management most is the lack of any young players putting their hands up for a first team place and the inability of the squad to cope with injuries to either batters or bowlers.

Meanwhile Sussex are building into a strong contender for a top two place, the young squad now putting in the big performances. Cheteshwar Pujara has been at Hove for the last two years and overseen the progress of the team and they have made a clever signing with John Simpson as captain. He has added maturity to a side where youthful exuberance has had a tendency to bubble over, as well as 314 runs at 78.50. The biggest difference between the two sides is in the bowling department. The opening pair of Ollie Robinson and Jayden Seales bring Test quality and Seales currently leads the Division Two bowling with 18 wickets at 21.16. The only salvation for Glamorgan will be if Robinson is rested. He is being used cautiously by Sussex, presumably under guidance from England, missing the second round of games and then Sussex did not play in week four. Derbyshire’s batting woes in the last match meant he only bowled 23 overs in the game, but it may be that he is rested again this week in order to be available for the tougher task against Yorkshire. The good news for Sussex is that unlike Glamorgan, they have players to come in, Aristides Karvelas the most likely replacement. All-rounder Danny Lamb has made an excellent start with his new club, having scored 312 runs at 78.00 as well as taking nine wickets at 28.88. The blossoming of the young talent in the Sussex squad is also demonstrated by 23-year-old off spinner Jack Carson. He has already played 40 first class games, taking 111 wickets at 36.47 and has made a strong start this season with 11 at 29.36.

The two encounters in 2023 both ended as draws. The first at Hove was a topsy turvy affair, Sussex building a 358 run first innings lead having bundled Glamorgan out for 123. However Glamorgan fought back in their second innings, amassing 737 thanks to centuries from Labuschagne, Kiran Carlson and Michael Neser. In the return fixture it was Glamorgan who held the upper hand. Set 359 to win from 98 overs Sussex were 243/9 with 130 balls remaining, but Glamorgan were unable to take the last wicket, Oli Carter and Henry Shipley holding out. Carter is the unlucky player who has had to make way for Simpson.

The problem for Sussex will be taking 20 wickets on a Cardiff pitch, where the history is that by day three there will be very little pace or bounce. After the draw between Yorkshire and Glamorgan at Headingly this week, Ottis Gibson was bemoaning the fact that each team can ask for a heavy roller on two occasions during the match, taking any life out of the wickets and wondering if this needs reviewing. He may have a point!

Key players:

Jamie McIlroy has become a regular in the Glamorgan attack and the left arm seamer had a satisfactory 2023 with 24 wickets at 30.66, his first season playing regular first team cricket. At 29-years-old, he has made a late entrance in to the game and has had a string of injuries, the latest to his shoulder when fielding against Derbyshire. He went wicketless against Yorkshire, but his biggest strength is his nagging line and length that will hopefully create more chances.

Jayden Seales has made as big an impact at Sussex as he has for the West Indies. The 22-year old has taken 37 wickets in his 10 Tests and leads the way in Division Two in what is his first foray into English cricket. He has taken six wickets in each of the last two games, both ending as wins for Sussex. The supporters will be hoping that Nathan McAndrew can reproduce this form when he replaces Seales at the beginning of June.

Team News:

It appears that van der Gugten and Podmore remain unavailable. Tom Bevan struggled against Yorkshire and may be replaced by Dan Douthwaite or Andy Gorvin.

Glamorgan squad (from): Sam Northeast (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Mason Crane, Dan Douthwaite, Andy Gorvin, Mir Hamza, James Harris, Colin Ingram, Jamie McIlory, Billy Root, Will Smale

Robinson may be rested. Otherwise the side is likely to be unchanged.

Sussex Squad (from): John Simpson (c, wk), Tom Alsop, Jack Carson, Oli Carter, Tom Clark, James Coles, Tom Haines, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Aristides Karvelas, Danny Lamb, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ollie Robinson, Jayden Seales

Weather and Conditions

It appears summer has finally arrived with temperatures set to reach 20°C. However there may be showers on the last two days.

The captain winning the toss is likely to want to bowl first given that pitches in Cardiff tend to be easiest to bat on on days three and four.  

Date: 10th May 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff


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