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Middlesex head into this week’s seventh round of the Vitality County Championship as one of only two sides in Division Two that remain unbeaten to this point, with Leicestershire the only other side to not taste defeat yet this season.

First Team Coach Richard Johnson has named a thirteen-man squad for this week’s table topping encounter against an in-form Sussex side, with only one change made to the fourteen that travelled to Cardiff in the last round.

Josh De Caires misses out this week, with Luke Hollman named as the frontline spinner for this week’s clash, having picked up five wickets against Glamorgan last week, including the crucial and game-changing scalp of Australian Marnus Labuschagne.

Confidence will be high in the Middlesex camp for this one, coming into the clash off the back of that thrilling victory over Glamorgan last week, when Middlesex fought off a late charge from the hosts to secure an important two wicket victory in the final stages of the game.

Middlesex bossed the opening two days down in Cardiff, and looked nailed on for a convincing victory, however the hosts battled fiercely on the third and fourth days and nearly caused an upset. The manner in which his side dug deep, held their nerve, and finished the job in a high-pressure situation will have been the most pleasing element of the performance for Johnson.

Johnson will also have been buoyed by the standout performances of Mark Stoneman, who hit 129 in the first innings and 63 in the second, Tom Helm, who picked up seven Glamorgan wickets in the game, and Hollman for his five wicket haul, which saw crucial performances coming from across the group, after the early rounds of the campaign had seen the run scoring largely dominated by Leus du Plooy, Ryan Higgins and Max Holden, whilst Ethan Bamber, Toby Roland-Jones and Higgins had led the attack with the ball.

Higgins still leads the way in the run scoring charts for Middlesex, with 531 runs at an average of 88.50, closely followed by du Plooy, with 528 at 66.00, and Holden with 497 at 62.12. Stoneman’s 192 runs scored in Cardiff takes his total to 380 at 42.22, with Sam Robson coming next, with 264 runs at 66.00, although the latter had to sit out of three earlier games with a thumb injury.

With the ball Bamber still leads the way, with the right-hander picking up 16 wickets to this point, however hot on his heels now is Helm with 15, Higgins with 14 and Roland-Jones with 11.

The week’s visitors, Sussex, sit on top of the Division Two table, having themselves secured a miraculous victory over Yorkshire down in Hove last week.

Dismissed for just 150 in their first innings, before conceding 195 runs to Yorkshire in their first dig, Sussex were trailing at the halfway stage by 45 runs. They were then dismissed cheaply again in their second innings, for 227, leaving Yorkshire a victory target of just 182 to secure the first win of their campaign. The Sussex attack tore through the Yorkshire line-up however to dismiss them for just 161, which saw the South Coast side secure an unlikely yet crucial win, by 21 runs.

That victory took Sussex to three wins from their opening six games, with two draws and one loss, and they lead the pack currently on 96 points. Middlesex, in second, have two wins and four draws from the opening six games, and sit just seven points behind the South Coast side going into this week’s clash.

The visitors’ runs have been shared around the batting group this season, although leading the way is opener Tom Haines, with 380 runs at 42.22, and close behind is the ever-consistent Cheteshwar Pujara, with 372 runs at 53.14. They are followed by James Coles, with 348 at 43.50, Tom Alsop, with 332 at 36.88, former Middlesex gloveman and new Sussex skipper John Simpson, with 326 at 42.50, and Danny Lamb with 320 runs at 40.00. Simpson will be making his return to Lord’s for the first time since leaving the Club at the end of last season to join the Hove based county, and he is sure to get a warm welcome from the Lord’s crowd.

With the ball, the pace of West Indies star Jayden Seales has done most of the visitors’ damage so far this term, with the Trinidad and Tobago quick picking up 23 wickets an average of just 21.86 – seeing him currently sat as the leading wicket-taker in Division Two. England’s Ollie Robinson has 15, and Lamb, Finn Hudson Prentice and Jack Carson are locked together on 12 wickets apiece.

The last two encounters between the two sides were in the 2022 season, when Middlesex had the better of the two meetings, with the Seaxes winning down in Hove by seven wickets, before the sides shared the points at Lord’s.

This week’s encounter promises to be a thrilling clash, with both sides looking to get a real stranglehold on their position at the top of the Division Two table. A win or draw for Middlesex would see them finish the first half of the four-day campaign unbeaten and in a great place at the half-way stage, whilst a win for the visitors would see them stretch their lead ahead of the chasing pack ahead of a break in four-day action, with the Vitality Blast kicking off at the end of next week.

Middlesex’s thirteen-man squad for this week’s clash is as follows:

Live Stream

Don’t forget, if you aren’t able to make it to Lord’s to watch this week’s clash, then you can catch every ball of the action on the Club live stream, available to watch for free on the Middlesex website or direct on the Club’s YouTube channel.

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Related fixture

Fri 24 May
Vitality County Championship - Division 2
Start Time: 11:00
Duration: 4 days

Middlesex Middlesex
Sussex Sussex

Match Drawn