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First Team Coach Richard Johnson has named an unchanged squad of fourteen to face Yorkshire in our third Vitality County Championship clash of the season, following high scoring draws against both Glamorgan and Northamptonshire in the opening two rounds of our 2024 campaign.

After a two-week trial using the Kookaburra ball, we see the return of the Dukes ball from this week, which will bring joy to the faces of seam bowlers around the country. Having spent the last two weeks grafting hard without much reward and being pumped around the ground, the bowlers now have the chance to restore some pride from some unenviable bowling returns witnessed thus far in the campaign.

In contrast, the first fortnight of the season has seen batters everywhere cashing in, and Middlesex’s top and middle-order have been no different. In the opening encounter at Lord’s, a double hundred from Ryan Higgins set us up for our highest ever total at the Home of Cricket – 655, and earlier this week a maiden double hundred for Max Holden, an unbeaten 196 for Leus du Plooy, and a debut hundred for Nathan Fernandes saw us post a first innings total of 553 for 2.

None of the eight matches played in Division Two across the opening two rounds have yielded a positive result, with no side able to manufacture a result with the placid Kookaburra ball, although with the Dukes ball now re-introduced, we will likely see some form of normality restored.

Middlesex face a tough challenge in the form of Yorkshire this week, who themselves couldn’t get past either Leicestershire or Gloucestershire in their opening two games, settling for draws on both occasions.

The experienced Adam Lyth hasn’t missed out on tucking into the early season run feast, hitting hundreds in both of Yorkshire’s opening two fixtures, whilst England’s Harry Brook and Pakistan’s Shan Masood have also made sure they didn’t miss out, both notching hundreds down in their last encounter in Bristol.

With both sides looking to get the first win of their respective campaigns under their belts, this week’s encounter promises to be an enthralling one, with two sides billed as many people’s favourites to be vying for promotion, going head to head early in the campaign.

A lot will depend on the surface at Lord’s, which for the opener against Glamorgan was straw coloured, and it played beautifully, and could well have been the kind of surface that made for a terrific game of cricket, had the Kookaburra ball not negated any assistance the bowlers might extract from the wicket.

With six full seamers in the Middlesex fourteen, three frontline spinners, and a host of batters in good form, First Team Coach Richard Johnson has the luxury of plenty of options available to him, and he can wait to see what the Lord’s deck is like before committing one way or the other. One thing is for sure, it’s hard to see Fernandes missing out after his brilliant hundred at Wantage Road, and likewise Holden and du Plooy after their incredible knocks.

Middlesex will head into this encounter with the following fourteen-man squad:

Toby Roland-Jones (c)

Ethan Bamber

Henry Brookes

Blake Cullen

Jack Davies (wk)

Josh De Caires

Leus du Plooy

Stephen Eskinazi

Nathan Fernandes

Tom Helm

Ryan Higgins

Max Holden

Luke Hollman

Mark Stoneman

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Related fixture

Fri 19 April
Vitality County Championship - Division 2
Start Time: 11:00
Duration: 4 days

Middlesex Middlesex
Yorkshire Yorkshire

Middlesex won by 6 wickets