Essex bidding to record second home win of the season
ESSEX entertain Northamptonshire at The Ford County Ground in the LV=County Championship starting today hoping to record their second home win of the season having thrashed Gloucestershire by an innings in the opening fixture of the season.
Essex then drew a rain-affected match against Yorkshire and head coach Paul Grayson is looking for an improved performance from that match at Headingley.
“Hopefully, we can get back to winning ways against Northamptonshire,” he said.
“We were a little bit short against Yorkshire and although we got eight wickets in a session in their first innings, we still didn’t bowl as well as we would have liked to have done. When we batted, we lost a few early wickets so there is room for improvement.”
England all-rounder Ravi Bopara returned to the side for the trip north and provided the highlight of the game from the Essex perspective hitting 126 out of 199 in his side’s first innings.
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“It was an excellent innings and an outstanding performance from someone who has not played in English conditions for a while,” acknowledged Grayson.
“It bodes well for the future for Ravi, for Essex and England so he’s in a good place at the moment. One of the positives that we have taken from our first two games is that we have scored two hundreds; Billy (Godleman) got one against Gloucestershire and now Ravi’s against Yorkshire.
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“That’s something that we have been working on as a unit to try and score more hundreds so that’s a positive sign and hopefully one or two others will cash in over the next few weeks.”
Essex have named a 13-man squad for today’s match. Charl Willoughby is now fully fit and could be set to make his Championship debut for the county, whilst Graham Napier will have a late fitness test on his calf strain. Tim Phillips though is likely to miss out due to a back spasm and so Tom Craddock is drafted into the squad.
Essex will be hoping to repast last year’s victory at The Ford County Ground when they beat Northamptonshire by 171 runs. During the match, James Foster and Adam Wheater scored 103 and 164 respectively and combined to post a new county record sixth-wicket partnership of 253 runs.
The visitors have lost both LV= County Championship matches this season, in stark contrast to 2011 when they were the early pacesetters in Division Two being unbeaten in their first eight matches that included five wins only for their successful run to hit the buffers when they arrived in Chelmsford.
Over the years, results between the two teams have favoured Essex who have secured 53 victories from the 167 County Championship matches, losing 42 matches with 71 drawn and one match tied.
Essex squad: James Foster (capt, wkt), Alviro Petersen, Billy Godleman, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Adam Wheater, Greg Smith, Graham Napier, David Masters, Charl Willoughby, Maurice Chambers, Tymal Mills, Tom Craddock.