Match preview: Warwickshire v Lancashire
Match Preview: Warwickshire v Lancashire, Specsavers County Championship
Lancashire are in the pink.
And they haven’t even started their latest clash at Edgbaston yet - this week’s day/night four-day meeting with relegation-threatened Warwickshire.
The Red Rose won their third Specsavers County Championship match of the season against Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford last week, their most convincing win of the campaign to date.
They are second in the table after seven matches, marking the halfway point in the campaign, having lost only once so far. Leaders Essex are 14 points clear.
Alex Davies, Dane Vilas, Ryan McLaren and Jimmy Anderson all starred with centuries and wickets against Hampshire.
Both Lancashire and Warwickshire have previous experience of pink ball cricket having played champion county matches against the MCC in 2012 and 2013 in Abu Dhabi.
But in England with a Dukes ball instead of a Kookaburra will be a completely new experience.
These matches are being used as a trial/warm-up ahead of England’s maiden Test Match under such conditions at Edgbaston in August, with the West Indies the visitors.
Anderson will be available alongside Jos Buttler.
Haseeb Hameed will also return following his stint with the Lions, as will Liam Livingstone following his involvement in England’s senior T20 squad.
Livingstone, however, will only be available for the first two days having been called up by the Lions for Thursday’s four-day tour match with South Africa’s Test team at Worcester.
Lancashire must name a replacement player at the toss, who can then come in at the start of day three and play a full part in the game.
Saqib Mahmood, who is also in the Lions squad, is unavailable for the full contest.
Warwickshire v Lancashire
Monday 26 – Thursday 29 June
Warwickshire sit bottom of Division One having failed to win in six matches this season, losing four of them.
It hasn’t been a happy return to Edgbaston for former Lancashire coach Ashley Giles, who left the Red Rose at Christmas to be closer to his family and take on the position of sport director above coach Jim Troughton.
Their most recent defeat was by an innings to Division One leaders Essex at Chelmsford.
Captained by Ian Bell, the Bears leading run-scorer is another former England batsman Jonathan Trott, who has 504 runs.
Long-standing overseas player, the New Zealand spinner, Jeetan Patel is their leading wicket-taker with 12.
Despite all of England’s Test players being available for the inaugural round of pink ball of Championship fixtures, the Bears will be missing injured all-rounder Chris Woakes, who is a doubt for next month’s first Test against South Africa at Lord’s due to a side strain.
LAST TIME OUT
An inexperienced Lancashire side were well beaten by 237 runs at Edgbaston in last season’s final round of matches.
A low-scoring match which saw neither side reach 300 also failed to produce a century, with Bears bowlers Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke and Jeetan Patel all taking five wickets apiece across both innings.
The win helped the hosts avoid relegation, with Lancashire surviving only courtesy of Durham’s win at Hampshire, who finished second bottom as a result.
While Lancashire produced two encouraging bowling performances to bowl their hosts out for 219 and 279 in Giles' final match in charge, their batting let them down.
They were bowled out for 152 and 109.
WHAT THEY SAID
Glen Chapple is looking forward to this week’s change in conditions and the different challenges he and his team face as a result.
“I’m looking forward to it because it’s something different and a challenge to work out whether there will be a change to the normal tactics employed with the red ball,” said the coach.
“We have a bit of preparing to do with the balls.
“It was a Kookaburra ball we used a few years ago in Abu Dhabi, and the Dukes may behave differently.
“But the standard four-day principles will still apply.
“We’ll have to see how it all goes. I don’t know whether it will catch on.
“I think there’s a challenge around the time of year we’re playing it because it stays light anyway. Whether the floodlights will take effect, I’m not sure.
“Hopefully there will be a decent crowd in at Edgbaston.”
Not surprisingly, Chapple has been delighted with the Red Rose’s start to the new season, and he is calling for more of the same as they look to consolidate their place in the title race.
“We’ve played some really good cricket this season,” he said.
“Everyone keeps saying how competitive the division is, and we’re seeing that. In general, I’m very pleased with how we’re going.
“We have to look to keep improving because, if we do that, we can be very optimistic.”
The other fixtures taking place in the Specsavers County Championship are:
- Hampshire v Somerset, The Ageas Bowl
- Yorkshire v Surrey, Headingley
- Essex v Middlesex, The Cloudfm County Ground
Lancashire CCC tickets
Secure your tickets to watch Lancashire in action this season, with tickets available to watch the Specsavers County Championship and NatWest T20 Blast at the iconic Emirates Old Trafford.