MATCH PREVIEW | Essex v Surrey


Essex have named a 13-man squad as they continue their Specsavers County Championship schedule when they entertain Surrey in a top-of-the-table clash at The Cloudfm County Ground starting tomorrow.

The home side sit proudly at the top of the league following their comprehensive thrashing of Hampshire inside three days and that success meant they are the only side in the division to have won two matches in the competition so far.

Their advantage over Surrey is a slender one, just a single point, and the Brown Caps are sure to prove daunting opponents.

Essex Head Coach Chris Silverwood admits that his squad go into the match in excellent spirit following their fine run that has seen them lose just one match in all competitions this year – and that by just a single run in a Royal London One-Day Cup match with Glamorgan.

“Coming off the back of a good win against Hampshire and a successful one-day campaign, we go into the match full of confidence which is really nice and the lads are really up for the Surrey game,” he acknowledged.

“We are still very aware that there is a lot of work in front of us and, coming up against a side that are second in the division, means that this is a big game for us. But it’s one that we are really looking forward to.”

He is rightly proud of the achievements of his squad so far.

“They’ve done really well and it’s great to see us top of the league and in the semi-final of the 50-over competition but we’ve achieved that by playing some really good cricket,” he said.

“The two wins in the Championship have both come inside three days and there were some more stand-out performances in the last match when we beat Hampshire.

“Obviously the way that Alastair Cook and Tom Westley batted showed how valuable runs were on that wicket and that illustrates how well they played. And I thought that Jamie Porter bowled exceptionally well from a seaming point of view and was ably backed up by the rest of the guys. On that last day, I thought that everyone bowled well but I have to say that the 5-for by ‘Ports’ in their first innings was top class.

“Surrey are obviously a good side but to be honest every match in the First Division brings it challenges, we’ve already come up against some tough sides but the great thing is that we are learning on our feet so far and we are also learning through winning.

“Hopefully that will continue but there is a lot of cricket in front of us, it’s still early days. We have to keep doing the basics right, stick to our game plans and keep doing the good things really well.

“I’ll keep driving that home to the players.”

Surrey enjoy bragging rights over their opponents coming into the match unbeaten in the last six encounters between the two sides are unbeaten in six matches versus Essex with two wins and four draws.

The visitors are also enjoying a five-game unbeaten run in Chelmsford with two wins and three draws.

Kumar Sangakkara (Surrey) has recorded more Championship runs than any other batsman this term (592); doing so with an average of 98.67. Another prolific run-getter for the visitors is Mark Stoneman with 388 runs @ 64.67. For the home side, Alastair Cook leads the way with 337 Championship runs @ 67.40, Dan Lawrence has 284 runs @ 56.80 and Tom Westley 327 runs @ 54.50.

Essex squad
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) WK
Ravi Bopara
Nick Browne
Varun Chopra
Alastair Cook
Simon Harmer
Dan Lawrence
Jamie Porter
Matt Quinn
Neil Wagner
Paul Walter
Tom Westley

Surrey squad | Gareth Batty, Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Mark Footitt, Stuart Meaker, Amar Virdi, Ravi Rampaul, Kumar Sangakarra, Dominic Sibley, Mark Stoneman.