Foster returns but ten Doeschate left out for trip to Cardiff

ESSEX are seeking a fourth successive win in the County Championship when they travel to the SWALEC in Cardiff to take on Glamorgan starting today.

James Foster, who suffered an ankle injury in practice ahead of the CB40 match with Glamorgan on July 20 and has been sidelined since, now returns to lead the side and take over the wicket-keeping duties from Adam Wheater although the latter is named as a batsman in the 12-man squad for the trip to Wales.

Stand-in captain Ravi Bopara will be missing as he is on duty with the England Lions who face Sri Lanka A at Scarborough and there is no place in the squad for Ryan ten Doeschate who has been given two weeks off following his poor form of late that has seen the all-rounder collect just eight runs in seven innings in all competitions and three wickets.

Matt Walker starts his return from a viral infection with a second-team match this week with Graham Napier and Mark Pettini joining the squad for Cardiff. That also includes David Masters who is the leading wicket-taker in the country in the County Championship with 61 wickets.

The 33-year-old became the first bowler to reach 50 wickets in the competition this year and his amazing performance last Friday when he took a career-best eight for 10 against Leicestershire boosted his tally for the season to 61 in the four-day game.

The bottom-of-the-table visitors to Southend were dismissed for 34 in just 14.4 overs with Masters inflicting the damage during an innings that lasted just 72 minutes. Like rabbits caught in the headlights, a series of batsmen came and went soon afterwards stunned by the devastating performance of the bowler who left Grace Road to join Essex for the 2008 campaign.

“I’ve never played in a game where a side have been bowled out so quickly,” he said.

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“It was amazing. There was a bit of seam help from the pitch but I just kept hitting the right line and length and to get eight for 10 was a quite unbelievable session,” he said.

Whilst enjoying the personally rewarding bowling performance, he was also quick to emphasise the importance to the team.

“It helped us to win the match and keeps our hopes of promotion in the Championship alive,” he continued.

“We’ve got five games left and have a bit of ground to make up but if we can the winning run going, we’ll give ourselves a good chance and you never know what might happen.”

Certainly Leicestershire did not expect the carnage inflicted by Masters in their second innings at Garon Park as they recorded the lowest total of the season in the County Championship and lowered their 48 all out against Northamptonshire only six weeks previously.

The two most recent matches at Cardiff between Glamorgan and Essex both ended in draws, with the game in 2009 seeing the visitors’ last pair of Danish Kaneria and Chris Wright survive the closing overs amidst much tension and drama. Essex last won a Championship clash at the ground in April 2006 when centuries from Andy Flower, Bopara and ten Doeschate helped to set up a victory by an innings. The last occasion that Essex lost a four-day fixture in Cardiff came back in 1997.

Glamorgan (from): A Petersen (capt), G Rees, W Bragg, S Walters, M Powell, J Allenby, M Wallace (wkt), G Wagg, R Croft, D Cosker, W Owen, C Ashling.

Essex (from): J Foster (capt/wkt), B Godleman, T Westley, O Shah, J Mickleburgh, A Wheater, T Phillips, G Napier, D Masters, M Chambers T Craddock, M Pettini.

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