After securing an important moral boosting victory over Worcestershire earlier this week - a side many predicted would be one of Middlesex’s promotion rivals this season, Stuart Law’s men have the chance to immediately repeat the feat against another of them this week, when Sussex are the visitors to the Home of Cricket.
There were plenty of signs at New Road that Law’s side are beginning to hit their straps after a stuttering start with the red ball, and with lots of positives to focus on from that game the squad are in confident mood ahead of the Sussex clash. Much like at New Road however, Middlesex will again have to be at their best for large spells of the game if they are to secure a second Championship victory on the bounce.
Like Middlesex, Sussex haven’t yet found the consistency that many expected them to easily settle into this term, with just one win coming from their opening four Championship encounters, although Ben Brown and Phil Salt have shown their run-scoring class for the South Coast side, with Brown leading the way on 348 runs and Salt not far behind on 326.
With the ball Sussex’s threat comes from their depth of attack, with little let up for the batsmen irrespective of who has the ball in hand. Their wickets have been widely shared around the bowling unit, and whilst Mir Hamza is out front with 16 wickets, each of Wiese, Jordan and Robinson have all played important roles and are all into double figures.
With Sussex currently sat in sixth place in the table on 49 points and Middlesex just behind them in seventh on 43, they both remain very much in contact Derbyshire in second place on 54 points and Worcestershire on 53, so both Middlesex and Sussex will have their eyes set on picking up a win at Lord’s this week to close the gap on those above them and settle into a place at the top end of the table.
Law has named a fourteen-man squad for this week’s encounter, with Dawid Malan again leading the side out. Having missed a large part of the Royal London One-Day Cup campaign, Malan returned to skipper the side at New Road and led from the front with a magnificent knock of 124.
Steven Finn again misses out on selection in the squad as he continues his recovery from a groin injury. Having had run-outs for the Seconds in the last two weeks Finn’s recovery is gathering pace and it will only be a matter of time before he is back in contention.
With Paul Stirling now back from Ireland duty, he is named in the squad, as is Ollie Rayner, who is named as an additional spin option to Nathan Sowter, with George Scott missing out this week.
Middlesex’s fourteen-man squad named by Law is as follows…
Dawid Malan (Captain)
John Simpson (Wicket-keeper)