Surrey go to Lord's tomorrow in search of a third consecutive win the in the County Championship, something which seemed most unlikely even a couple of months ago.
Chris Adams has named the following 12 man squad, with the selection being my preference:
12th man: Stuart Meaker
I can only assume Andre Nel is injured, unless he's picked up another ban that I've missed completely, but its nice to see Linley and Dernbach returning from injury. Both players were really hitting their straps before cruelly timed injuries and although Dernbach was loose against Somerset at the weekend, this game is a good opportunity for him to get some overs under his belt. Whether Meaker or Linley takes the third seamers' slot is a toss-up, Meaker's four-for in the last game against Northants was an encouraging sign, but immediately before his injury Linley picked up a four-for as well, so I'd go with him.
In the end, given Spriegel's hundred in the last game, I wonder if Adams might actually go with four front line bowlers and put Spriegel in at six, Batty at seven and so on. In which case both Linley and Meaker could play, and I would guess one of Walters or Afzaal - who is still yet to rediscover any sort of batting form - will make way. I don't favour this approach as it puts a great deal of pressure on the top order.
I don't think having Davies opening is ideal, but until Brown returns we're still a player short in that position. I hope Tom Lancefield can nail down the other openers slot, the failure of Harinath to convert a number of starts into anything was very disappointing, I hope his time will come again.
Middlesex are depleted somewhat, obviously Strauss, Morgan and Finn are away at Trent Bridge and Iain O'Brien is injured. Their bowling attack looks a little inexperienced with young Roland-Jones having to shoulder considerable burden. However with Dexter, Berg, Shah and Scott Newman (ok he's not scored loads, but he scored a few last time out vs Surrey) their batting is a bit healthier. I think on paper Surrey have the slightest of edges, but that counts for nothing come 11am.
As is seemingly always the case with Surrey this season, this is a crucial game. If we could secure a third win on the bounce, promotion might start to look not quite so far fetched. Plus its always nice to beat Middlesex at Lord's!
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