Essex lock horns once again with Surrey when the teams meet at Guildford in the return Specsavers County Championship Division One clash starting tomorrow.
The sides recently met at The Cloudfm County Ground when a draw was the outcome in a contest that provided a number of headline performances.
Kumar Sangakkara struck a double-century in the Brown Caps first innings and then fell tantalisingly short of a record sixth consecutive Championship century. Having reached 84 in his second visit to the crease, he gave a return catch to Tom Westley. That took the batsman’s overall tally of runs in the competition to 876.
Essex batsman Dan Lawrence and Jamie Porter also both caught the attention; teenager Lawrence made 107 whilst the ever impressive Porter enjoyed match figures of 9 for 160.
Surrey and Essex have met twice previously in Guildford; both resulting in a draw (1968 & 2009).
Chris Silverwood has named a 13-man squad for the trip to Guildford adding Ashar Zaidi and Paul Walter to the team that drew the previous encounter at Chelmsford.
“I am delighted with the way that we are performing this season, we are getting first division sides on the ropes at various stages of the game and creating opportunities,” he said.
“I’m sure that it is only a matter of time before we will take more and more of those opportunities.
“We have won two and drawn three of our first block of 5 matches and that took us to the top of the Division One table. We also finished top of our group in the One-Day Cup and overall, that makes pretty impressive reading.
“But we can’t sit back and admire what we’ve achieved, if anything we have to work even harder now to capitalise on that and build on that great start. We’ve got to keep driving forwards and make things happen.
“We’ve got bowlers in our squad that have the ability to put the opposition on the rack, Jamie Porter’s done it, Neil Wagner’s done it, Matt Quinn’s done it. We had Surrey in trouble last week but unfortunately, they had Sangakkara in their ranks that showed he is a world-class player. But that’s why you play cricket, to pit your abilities against high-class players.
“The boys are loving competing in Division One and they are learning with each game they play and there is some great cricket being played.
“I ask three things from the boys, respect, attitude and effort and they are all choices. If a player turns up every day with those three characters, then there is a very good chance they have every chance of being successful.
“There is still a lot we need to work on and that will always be the case but what we need to do immediately is to keep the momentum going.”
Hampshire currently lead Division One with 82 points from 6 matches. Essex occupy second position with 68 points, Surrey have 67 points and Yorkshire 66 points although all three teams have only played 5 matches.
Ryan ten Doeschate, (27) Captain
James Foster (7) WK
Nick Browne (10)
Simon Harmer (11)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Paul Walter (22)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Alastair Cook (26)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Ashar Zaidi (99)