After the teams’ draw in Manchester in the opening round of LV=Insurance County Championship fixtures, Sussex and Lancashire meet again at The 1st Central County Ground on Thursday.
Ian Salisbury has named a 14-man squad for the match. Stuart Meaker returns after being rested for the Yorkshire match. Jamie Atkins, Will Beer, Ali Orr and new rookie signing, Joe Sarro are also added.
With more than 100 overs in the opening three weeks of the season under his belt, Ollie Robinson is rested. Sean Hunt (side) and Mitch Claydon (calf) are unavailable after suffering injuries. Both are expected to be out of action for a number of weeks. Phil Salt continues his rehabilitation from a foot injury.
"I feel like one of the lads now. I feel at home and I'm loving my cricket." - Aaron Thomason talks opening the batting, one-handed catches and the visit of Lancashire
After last week’s narrow defeat to an experienced Yorkshire outfit, Sussex’s young team are third in Group 3 with 42 points from their first three games. That puts them nine points behind Yorkshire in second and 17 behind early leaders, Lancashire.
Tom Haines remains Sussex’s top-scorer. His scores of 86 and 37 against Yorkshire took his tally for the season to 397, enough to make him the sixth highest run-scorer in the country. His opening partner, Aaron Thomason, is the other Sussex batsman with over 200 Championship runs so far, while George Garton, Ollie Robinson, Tom Clark and Stiaan van Zyl all have made at least one score of 50 or more.
Ollie Robinson’s 20 wickets are three more than any other bowler in the Championship this season. After his five-wicket haul in the second innings against Yorkshire, Jack Carson now has 11 dismissals to his name. George Garton has six.
Jack Carson took his second first-class five-fer in just his seventh match against Yorkshire
Ben Brown (captain, wicketkeeper), Jamie Atkins, Will Beer, Jack Carson, Tom Clark, Henry Crocombe, George Garton, Tom Haines, Stuart Meaker, Ali Orr, Delray Rawlins, Joe Sarro, Aaron Thomason, Stiaan van Zyl
View from the coach's office
Ian Salisbury on his squad for the Lancashire match: "Despite our best efforts, Sean is unfortunately injured with a side strain and could be out for a while, as is Mitch. This game we’re going to rest Ollie. He’s bowled magnificently, but his workload has been huge and we can’t afford to risk him breaking down. There’s a lot expected of him – not just with the ball, but with the bat, in the field and as vice-captain - but he’s not a bowling machine you can just plug in. He’s a human being and he’s due a rest.
"It’s so important that we look after the players. We have got a small squad and it’s quite a brutal schedule. Ultimately the guys that play week in, week out, get one day off a week for six weeks. So, we need to make sure the players are ready, physically and mentally, to keep going at the intensity we need them to go at. We want to play with intensity in every aspect of the game and for every ball.
"I don’t see it as a negative thing having to rest and rotate players. We want sustained success in the future with Sussex and so this is an opportunity for other young players to come in and get valuable experience. Congratulations to Joe Sarro and Jamie Atkins who we welcome into a matchday squad for the first time.
"In Ollie’s absence, George Garton and Tom Haines will step up into the leadership group for this game. They’ve both had experience of this over the winter when Salty, Ollie and CJ were away and will offer support to Browny who has been doing a brilliant job at nurturing this young side in a very clever and positive way."
Ollie Robinson has already bowled 103 overs already this season
On the season so far: "I couldn’t be happier with the boys and how they’ve gone about things so far. Everything we’ve tried to implement over the winter they’ve taken on board: their intensity for every game and every ball, the way the batters have sold their wickets dearly and the discipline of the bowlers banging out areas ball after ball. They’ve scrapped and fought hard whenever they’ve stepped onto the pitch. That intensity can be tiring, but that’s what we want from our first-class cricketers and what we need from them as we look to bring sustained success to Sussex.
"I’ve actually enjoyed the schedule so far – hugely tough games against strong opposition. If you want to become a quality first-class side, you have to play these games to understand what’s required of you to get to where you want to be."
On this week’s visitors to The 1st Central County Ground: "We saw from our first game against Lancashire that they’re right up for it in every aspect. They’re a more experienced side than us and they play good, combative cricket – exactly the kind of side we want to test ourselves against. After the fight and spirit they showed against Yorkshire, I can’t wait to see our developing team pit themselves against another side packed full of experienced, quality cricketers."
On the support his team is receiving: "My only sadness is that our members, sponsors and supporters aren’t able to watch us in person and see the way in which we are playing our cricket.. Hopefully, we aren’t too far away from having some people back in the ground. In the meantime, we are hugely grateful for the support and positivity from those following us on the live stream and online.
The groundstaff at The 1st Central County Ground have worked hard to restore the outfield after a pre-season leatherjacket infestation
"I’d also like to express my thanks once again to Ben Gibson and his groundstaff for their incredible hard work after having had to contend with some big challenges in the run up to our first home game last week."
After three rounds, Lancashire are top of Group 3 having followed their draw at home to Sussex with convincing wins against Northamptonshire and Kent.
Their innings victory at Canterbury last week was thanks in no small part to a record eighth-wicket stand for the county of 187 between Luke Wood and Danny Lamb, who made career-best scores of 119 and 125 respectively.
Wood followed up his batting exploits with 3 for 38 as Kent were bundled out for 169 in response to Lancashire’s 525 and asked to follow on. Tom Bailey took 4 for 46.
Luke Wood and Danny Lamb helped set up an innings victory for Lancashire against Kent last week
Kent scored 351 in their second innings, but a marathon effort from leg-spinner Matt Parkinson who took 7 for 126 in 52 overs made sure that Lancashire did not have to bat again.
Stephen Croft – against Northants - and captain Dane Vilas – against Sussex - are the two other Lancashire batsmen with centuries so far this season. Vilas is the club’s top-scorer with 292 runs and is one of six players averaging over 40 with the bat. Former Sussex man, Luke Wells is another who made 45 on his Red Rose debut last week.
After his exploits at the St. Lawrence, Parkinson is Lancashire’s leading wicket-taker. His 15 scalps so far this season put him sixth on the overall list. Bailey has 12 wickets, Wood nine and Saqib Mahmood eight.
Jimmy Anderson remains unavailable with a calf injury, but Liam Livingstone is included in Lancashire’s squad for their trip to Hove having completed his quarantine period after returning from the IPL.
Dane Vilas (captain), Tom Bailey, Jack Blatherwick, Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft, Alex Davies (wicketkeeper), Keaton Jennings, Rob Jones, Danny Lamb, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, Luke Wells, Luke Wood
Play is scheduled to begin at 11am on all four days of the match. The match will be played behind closed doors in line with government requirements. Members and supporters are asked not to visit the ground.
Supporters can still catch the action through the live stream available on the Sussex Cricket Match Centre, which also offers a live scorecard, stats and video clips of key moments.
Sussex Cricket is taking part in a social media boycott between 3pm on Friday and 11.59pm on Monday, during which time no updates will be posted on the club’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.