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Middlesex have named a squad of fourteen to take on Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in round two of the Vitality County Championship, after the Seaxes’ campaign got underway last week at Lord’s against Glamorgan in what transpired to be a high-scoring run-fest that re-wrote the record books at the Home of Cricket.

After Glamorgan’s skipper, Sam Northeast, had created the early headlines, by hitting an unbeaten 335 to record the highest ever individual score at Lord’s, it was over to the Middlesex batters to do the same, as a double hundred from Ryan Higgins set Middlesex on their way to scoring their highest ever total in the 147 years of them playing at the ground – a massive 655!

It was clear to all that the trial of the Kookaburra ball had largely negated the contest between bat and ball, however despite that, it was a phenomenal effort from the Middlesex batting unit, under intense scoreboard pressure, and the side will take huge confidence and plenty of positives from it.

It was an innings that saw contributions throughout, with Higgins’ 221 leading the way. 97 from Mark Stoneman, 64 from Tom Helm at number ten, 60 from Jack Davies and 53 from Max Holden saw five Middlesex batters pass fifty in the same innings for the first time in a decade.

Useful contributions of 43 from Sam Robson and 37 from debutant Leus du Plooy, plus a handy 20 each for Josh De Caires and Toby Roland-Jones, showed that there’s plenty of depth on offer right down the batting line-up when it’s required.

Plenty of positives to take for sure, however the side will have to head to Northampton without opener Sam Robson, who sustained a small fracture to the tip of his thumb when diving for a catch in the field. He will miss out on the trip up the M1 as he recovers from the injury.

The forced omission of Robson from the squad sees him as the only absentee from the squad named to face Glamorgan last week, and coming in this week are Stephen Eskinazi and Luke Hollman, as First Team Coach Richard Johnson balances his options by adding another batter and another spinner.

We’ll head to Northampton with a squad of fourteen, blessed with six fit seamers – Ethan Bamber, Henry Brookes, Blake Cullen, Helm, Higgins, and skipper Roland-Jones, which gives First Team Coach Richard Johnson plenty of options in his pace attack, whilst the addition of Hollman gives him four options in the spin department, alongside Nathan Fernandes, De Caires and du Plooy.

Eskinazi coming into the side bolsters the batting ranks in Robson’s absence, whilst Fernandes could provide a natural replacement for Robson in the opening berth as a straight swap.

Whether Johnson elects to replace Robson like-for-like or lean more heavily upon spin will no doubt come down to the pitch conditions at Wantage Road, as we will once again see the Kookaburra ball used on trial in this week’s round of Championship matches.

Last week Northamptonshire took on Sussex down at Hove, where they managed to secure a draw, despite being nine wickets down in their second innings, leading by just 63 runs when bad light called an early end to the game.

The Northants’ batters prospered too in their first innings, with skipper Luke Procter leading the way with 97 as they posted 371, although the batting fragility that haunted them in 2023 and played a large part in their relegation to Division Two returned in the second innings, as they were on the rack on 170 for 9.

The Middlesex coaching unit will have to weigh up whether they favour a pace or spin attack this week, with eight of the Northants batters falling to spinners and eleven to pace down in Hove, so a lot will ride on the toss and the reading of the Wantage Road pitch conditions.

It promises to be another exciting encounter over the coming four days, with both sides looking to secure the first win of their respective campaigns, although on the evidence of round one, that’ll be no straightforward task with the Kookaburra ball in hand.

Middlesex have named the following fourteen-man squad for this week’s Vitality County Championship round two clash against Northamptonshire:

Toby Roland-Jones (c)

Ethan Bamber

Harry 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

You will be able to watch a live stream of the match, broadcast by our hosts Northamptonshire, which will be available to watch on the Middlesex website in the match centre. Simply click HERE to access the match centre.

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Related fixture

Fri 12 April
Vitality County Championship - Division 2
The County Ground
Start Time: 11:00
Duration: 4 days

Northamptonshire Northamptonshire
Middlesex Middlesex

Match Drawn