Match Preview: Durham CCC v Middlesex CCC

After a hard fought draw against a strong Warwickshire outfit this week at Lord’s, where Middlesex dominated for three of the four days, the Seaxes next Division One clash in the Specsavers County Championship comes at Durham’s Emirates Riverside ground on Sunday.

Middlesex will quite rightly head to the Riverside in good spirits, after an impressive display this week at the Home of Cricket, which saw them take 12 points from the draw against a side tipped by many to be one of the counties likely to feature in the leading pack this season.

Sam Robson shot to the top of the PCA MVP rankings immediately after the Warwickshire game, courtesy of the 337 runs he scored when becoming the first player in Middlesex’s 152-year history to score a double century and a century in the same first-class match. Robson broke a number of records in what was a remarkable game for him personally, one of which had stood the test of time for over 120 years.

There were plenty of other positives that Middlesex can take from the four days against Warwickshire at Lord’s, including solid half centuries from opener Nick Gubbins and wicket-keeper John Simpson in Middlesex’s first innings, and a fine knock of 92 from Adam Voges in the second, who looks to have returned from a winter away down under in majestic form.

With the ECB’s change in toss regulations now seeing Middlesex having the right to bowl first at the Riverside on Sunday, should skipper Voges wish to do so, only time will tell whether or not the game will be played out on the normally seamer friendly wickets that we’ve historically seen in Durham. With each of Steven Finn, Toby Roland-Jones, James Harris and Tim Murtagh picking up Warwickshire first innings wickets this week, bowler friendly conditions could well see Middlesex take the early initiative in the game.

Durham’s own Championship campaign got off to an impressive, yet frustrating start a fortnight ago, as when completely in the ascendancy against Somerset, two days of rain halted their charge against Chris Rogers’ visiting team. Keaton Jennings hit the new season running, hitting a century in each Durham innings to put the hosts on top, only for heavy rain to scupper their chances, after the ever reliable seam pairing of Rushworth and Onions had skittled Somerset for just 179 in their first innings.

With Middlesex doing the double over Durham last year in the Championship, and having not been beaten at the Riverside in each of the last three years, the Seaxes will be high in confidence, hoping that recent history repeats itself and a strong start to this season can continue on the long trip up to the North East.

Middlesex are pleased to announce the following 14 man squad for the Specsavers County Championship match against Durham starting on Sunday 24 April at Emirates Durham ICG:

Adam Voges (c)
Nick Compton
Steven Finn
James Franklin
James Fuller
Nick Gubbins
James Harris
Dawid Malan
Tim Murtagh
Ollie Rayner
Sam Robson
Toby Roland-Jones
John Simpson
Paul Stirling