MATCH PREVIEW | Essex v Lancashire


Championship cricket returns to the The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday as Essex face Lancashire. Play is scheduled to commence at 11am on each of the four days.

Anthony McGrath has named a 13-man squad for the match, which includes Australian Test bowler Peter Siddle, who is set to make his Essex debut after signing for the first five matches of the summer.

After the opening game of the season against Yorkshire was abandoned without a ball bowled, Essex are eagerly looking forward to getting on the field.

The abandonment at Headingley left Essex with 5 points, but now Ryan ten Doeschate’s men are looking forward to putting more points on the board.

“We were left very frustrated after losing all four days against Yorkshire but there is nothing we can do about it,” said the Essex skipper. “The lads were really upset with the situation but we have to move on. With all the variables that come along in cricket and in a 14 game season, you more or less find who is the best team and we’ve still got 13 games to go starting with Lancashire on Friday.

“We met them early on in the season last year and got 8 points when we scrapped it out for a draw but our mind set is very different this year.”

Meanwhile opening batsman Nick Browne, who was the leading runs scorer with 952 for the County in their Championship title success last summer, already has a first-class century to his name this year.

He reached three figures in the rain-affected draw with Cambridge MCCU earlier this month and readily admits that he is looking to take his game to a higher level.

“It was good to get that time in the middle at Fenner’s particularly as we then had the washout at Headingley which was so frustrating for everyone,” he stated.

“I’m really excited about this season both for myself and the team. I believe that the squad is really strong and once again, we have a number of players pushing for places. We had that incredibly successful experience last year of going through the Championship season unbeaten so we know how to win matches and there is a genuine belief that we can retain our title.

“Personally, I’m also looking to push on further from last season and I would love to get recognition for the Lions or England. To do that, I probably need to score four or five Championship centuries and if they all prove match-winning hundreds for Essex, then that’s great for me and the team.”

Lancashire arrive at Chelmsford smarting from a six-wicket defeat by newly-promoted Nottinghamshire in a low-scoring match at Old Trafford. The Red Rose County scored 158 in their first innings before their opponents replied with 222 but Lancashire capitulated second time around being shot out for 73, including the loss of their last eight wickets for just 15 runs.

Essex squad to face Lancashire:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) Wicket-keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Nick Browne (10)
Varun Chopra (6)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Peter Siddle (64)
Paul Walter (22)
Tom Westley (21)
Adam Wheater (31)

You can watch Essex in action over the next four days as Lancashire visit The Cloudfm County Ground. Tickets are on sale via the Hayes Close End and River Gate entrance points from 10am, priced £15 Adults, £10 Students/Young Adults and £5 Juniors. You can also become a Member for the 2018 season with a host of benefits, including entry to all Specsavers County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup matches. Packages are available online now or in person at the Membership & Ticketing Office.