The Steelbacks face Somerset for the first time this season, in the LV= County Championship here at the County Ground.
Last time the sides met
Whilst these two sides have faced each other several times in T20 cricket over recent years, they haven’t played each other in a four day game since 2007. In that year, the sides drew here at the County Ground, whilst Somerset won the return fixture by 9 wickets at Taunton.
Things did not go according to plan for Northants last week, when they travelled down to Hove to take on Sussex, on what was a lively pitch. Stephen Peters put the hosts into bat first and his decision looked inspired, when they were 166/5. However a 136 run partnership between Luke Wright (158) and Ben Brown (47), took away the visitors’ momentum, as Sussex managed to finish 405 all out, with Andrew Hall taking four wickets.
Northants’ reply couldn’t have got off to a worse start, as they were 0/3 after three overs. They were eventually bowled out for 116, thanks to five wickets from Steve Magoffin and were forced to follow-on. The second innings went slightly better, with Steven Crook being the only shining light, as he hit an unbeaten 52, but could not prevent the team being bowled out for 204, losing by an innings and 85 runs.
Somerset’s last game saw them take on Middlesex at Uxbridge. Dawid Malan continued his fine form for Middlesex as he scored 124, to help the hosts reach 338 all out, as Craig Overton took 4 for 84. In reply, Somerset who have hopes of winning the title decided to be aggressive in their tactics, as they declared on 264/9, with Nick Compton falling six runs shy of a deserved century. In the second innings, Middlesex scored freely, declaring on 315/5 after 69 overs. This left the hosts needing 389 runs to win on the final day. Unfortunately the target was too much, as the captains shook hands with the score on 203/4.
Ones to Watch
Somerset’s main man is Nick Compton, who is trying to remind England selectors of what he can do and this year Compton has scored 643 runs at an average of 49. The visitors are well led by the experienced former England man Marcus Trescothick, who is the County’s leading run scorer this season with 747 runs at an average of 46.7, which includes three centuries. South African Alfonso Thomas is Somerset’s main strike bowler, having taken 36 wickets at an average 21.9 this year.
David Ripley has made a couple of changes to the squad that travelled to Hove last week.
Skipper Stephen Peters has failed a fitness test, after suffering a grade one tear of his calf last week, so will not feature and James Middlebrook will take over as captain.
Matthew Spriegel is also not part of the 12-man squad.
Replacing these two are Richard Levi and Adam Rossington.