MATCH PREVIEW | Middlesex v Essex

Beardo 

Essex travel to the Home of Cricket for the third Specsavers County Championship match of the 2017 season where they meet Middlesex at Lord’s.

Having beaten last year’s competition runners-up, Somerset, by a stunning 8-wicket margin, Essex now turn attentions to 2016 Champions Middlesex.

The visitors have named a 13-man squad with paceman Matt Quinn returning from a long injury lay-off and replacing all-rounder Ashar Zaidi in the group that travelled to Taunton.

Essex Head Coach Chris Silverwood admits that he is satisfied in the manner his squad have adjusted to life back in the top-flight of domestic cricket.

“So far, so good although it’s early days of course,” he said. “We knew it would be a challenge and there was obviously a steep learning curve in our first match with Lancashire. Then there was a bit of a dog-fight with Somerset but in both matches, we scored the runs in the second innings, firstly to save the Lancashire match and then to pull off a superb win against Somerset.

“Although we needed to score the highest total of the match to win at Taunton, we weren’t fazed by the prospect. We did have a plan in how to go about achieving victory and we said if one batsman gets in, then the rest can bat around him and we can build partnerships and see what happens. It worked brilliantly.

“It shows what character we do have within the group and I think it sends out a strong message that we are here in Division One to make our presence felt. You can see the confidence in the squad and in individual players plus the good thing is that there is genuine competition for places in the starting line-up.

“We are really looking forward to playing at Lord’s, it is a fantastic place to play cricket. Obviously Middlesex are going to be really tough opposition but that’s what Division One cricket is all about and we are ready to meet the next challenge in front of us.”

Of the last eight Championship contests between the two sides played at Lord’s, five have ended in stalemate with Middlesex recording two wins and Essex one victory.

Essex will again have Alastair Cook available. The England Test opener played a pivotal part in the win against Somerset with a century in the second innings to follow his fifty in his first visit to the crease.  He has averaged 89.4 in the County Championship since the start of last season spanning 13 innings.

Essex squad:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-keeper
Varun Chopra (6)
Nick Browne (10)
Simon Harmer (11)
Neil Wagner (13)
Aaron Beard (14)
Tom Westley (21)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Alastair Cook (26)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)