Surrey have named an unchanged squad for this week's game with Sussex at the Oval. The team that takes the field is likely to look different though as Stuart Meaker's thigh strain makes him an unlikely starter.
The 13 names and a possible XI:
Zander de Bruyn
Twelfth men: Gary Keedy, Stuart Meaker
One question mark over the final XI remains - does Chris Adams persist with the twin-spin attack that faced Somerset last week or does he change tack and opt for the extra seamer. Much will depend on what kind of pitch is being prepared. Adams will probably have been disappointed with the extent to which the pitch deteriorated last week, or rather, didn't deteriorate. Even as the match drew to a close the spinners found little regular turn and Jos Buttler was still making hay at 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon. The sunshine over the weekend and at the start of this week may have persuaded him that two spinners could still work. Either way, it seems certain that Tim Linley will get a first start of the season since Chris Tremlett is only likely to play in place of Keedy, not as well as him.
I am disappointed that Jason Roy, batting today for the Second XI, still can't find space in the squad. Zander de Bruyn's ability with the ball seemingly keeping him in the side for another game. Graeme Smith will want to get off the mark for his new club with a score of note, and Harinath and Wilson will also want to make an impact.
Inevitably it will be hard to ignore the two players in the opposition squad making their returns to the Oval this week. Chris Jordan, who made such an impressive start to his Sussex career two weeks ago, and Rory Hamilton-Brown, our former captain, will draw much of the attention. Personally I hope both are given a good reception. Whatever you might think about how their careers at the Oval ended, they're talented young players deserving of their latest chance.
Sussex won their first game against a fancied Yorkshire side emphatically two weeks ago by an innings and 12 runs. Their batting, spearheaded by Ed Joyce and Chris Nash is solid rather than spectacular, but they will be boosted by the presence of England wicket-keeper Matt Prior. Similarly their bowling attack is low key but no less effective for it. Its hard to think of a more effective but less heralded opening bowling partnership than Steve Magoffin and James Anyon in county cricket, ably backed up by Jordan and the best spinner in England not called Graeme Swann. Monty's presence may also enter in to Adams' thinking about pitch-preparation.
Despite Buttler's near-hundred at the end of the Somerset game Surrey probably ended the contest in the ascendancy which should hopefully give the side some momentum this week. Two hundreds and two five fors in the first game is not to be sniffed at, and I hope they can build on the undoubted positives uncovered in the first fixture. Sussex remain a dangerous side capable of beating any side in Division One, so a strong performance is a must.
Ravi Ashwin’s Season
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