There was only one match in the LV= County Championship today, with Somerset kicking off their match against Durham at Taunton at midday following an overnight party to welcome the Olympic torch.
The visitors clearly picked up on the carnival atmosphere and raced to 158 without loss in the 38th over after winning the toss and electing to bat. Michael Di Venuto was eventually out to the returning Alfonso Thomas for 96 from 119 balls, but his partner Will Smith reached three figures, while Ben Stokes struck 60 from 79 balls to keep Durham’s scoring rate high. Somerset hit back with several wickets in the latter part of the day, but Durham still went to stumps on 353 for eight.
Previews of the other matches in round eight of the LV= County Championship, which start tomorrow, can be found below.
Lancashire v Middlesex at Liverpool
The home side have again named two spinners in their 14-man squad, meaning the likes of Kyle Hogg, Oliver Newby, Ajmal Shahzad and Sajid Mahmood could potentially be competing for one seam bowling spot. Middlesex will be without their England duo of Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn – although the latter may make an appearance in the second part of the match if he is released by England – but they do welcome back Eoin Morgan for his first Championship game in almost two years. Tom Smith, Ollie Rayner and Steven Crook are likely to do battle for the final place in the starting eleven.
Surrey v Warwickshire at The Oval
Surrey are unchanged from the 13 that drew with Somerset, although Tim Linley or Jade Dernbach will be hoping to earn a place in the final eleven – probably at the expense of George Edwards. The Bears welcome back Chris Woakes to further strengthen their already formidable bowling attack although Irish pace-bowler Boyd Rankin is still sidelined.
Essex v Derbyshire at Chelmsford
The hosts welcome back Owais Shah from IPL duty, while Derbyshire have replaced injured seamer Mark Footitt with Tony Palladino in a 13-man squad which also includes Ally Evans.
Hampshire v Glamorgan at Southampton
Hampshire welcome back their T20 captain Dimitri Mascarenhas from his stint in the IPL and have named Bilal Shafayat, Sean Ervine and Danny Briggs in a 14-man squad. Bottom-placed Glamorgan have omitted Simon Jones from their 12-man squad, with the former England paceman signed primarily on a one-day contract and replaced by his namesake Alex Jones. At the top of the order, Nick James makes way for Stewart Walters.
Kent v Leicestershire at Canterbury
Azhar Mahmood has returned from his spell in the IPL, but is unlikely to feature for the home side. Meanwhile, the Foxes have included trialist Preston Mommsen in their squad.
Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire at Wantage Road
It’s all change for the Steelbacks as injuries to Luke Evans (back), Rob Newton and Ben Howgego (wrist) and Sam Sweeney (arm) mean places for Con de Lange and David Burton in their 12-man squad. David Murphy continues to keep Niall O’Brien out of the side, while Jack Brooks is rested. The visitors have replaced out-of-form wicket-keeper Richard Coughtrie with Jonathan Batty, while Dan Housego continues to miss out. The bowling attack sees a return for Liam Norwell, with David Payne and James Fuller still out injured.
Weather Forecast: Apart from some cloud on the coast, another fine and warm day is expected for tomorrow with highs of between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius. The forecast for the remainder of the matches is largely the same, although Friday and Saturday may be a little cooler.
County News In Brief:
Leicestershire have taken Scotland all-rounder Preston Mommsen on trial. The 24 year-old joins his Saltires team-mate Richie Berrington on trial at Grace Road.
Former Lancashire wicket-keeper Frank Parr has died at the age of 83. He played 48 matches for the county between 1951 and 1954.
Northamptonshire CCC have bought the freehold to their ground at Wantage Road for a six-figure sum thanks to a legacy left by former president Lynn Wilson.
Nottinghamshire CCC have donated 500 tickets for the Sunday of the forthcoming Test match against the West Indies to the Tickets for Troops campaign.
© Cricket World 2012