The Specsavers County Championship returned this week after a near month-long one-day hiatus.
Despite the break, there were plenty of impressive performances in the four-day format – read on to find out who have stood out the most and made the cut in our team of the week.
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Rory Burns (Surrey, captain)
The leading run-scorer in the County Championship. Burns was at it again, providing the perfect platform for Surrey in their innings win over Hampshire with his 151, continuing his trend of cashing in with a big score once in – all the more remarkable given his side lost Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick in the opening five balls of the match.
Matt Renshaw (Somerset)
Pushing Burns close is Somerset’s Renshaw, who is third in the leading run-scorer charts and joins him at the top of the order in our side after his third century of the season – also coming in the first innings of a win, over Nottinghamshire. Renshaw hit 105, and then followed it up with a handy 61 in their pursuit of 250 to win, which sees him edge out Kent’s Sean Dickson, who hit 117 against Gloucestershire.
Ian Bell (Warwickshire)
Arguably, the performance of the week came from former England batsman Bell, who struck back-to-back centuries against Glamorgan in a win that extends their lead at the top of the Division Two table. Bell was dismissed in neither innings, following up his 106 in the first with 115 crucial runs in the second as his side chased down a stiff target of 294.
Usman Khawaja (Glamorgan)
The reason the Warwickshire’s run-chase was such a testing one was due to Khawaja’s debut ton for Glamorgan in the second innings. Having trailed their Edgbaston hosts by 30 runs after the first innings, Khawaja tonked an imperious 125 in his second spell in the middle.
Gareth Harte (Durham)
A second unlucky Kent batsman misses out, as sentiment has seen Durham’s Harte – scorer of his maiden century this week – selected ahead of Joe Denly, who continued his fine start to the season with 107 in Bristol. But, Harte – who also had the honour of top-scoring with 20 in Durham’s disastrous first innings when dismissed for 96 – gets the nod for his vital 114 in only his second first-class game which helped lift his side to a match-winning target.
Tom Moores (Nottinghamshire, wicketkeeper)
Moores very nearly matched Harte’s feat, with his starring second-innings century for Nottinghamshire very nearly inspiring a comeback win against Somerset. Following on, Moores came to the crease with his side five wickets down and with a lead of only 41. By the time he was dismissed for 103 and Notts had been bundled out for 505, Somerset were left with a tricky 250-run chase – one which they ultimately achieved for the loss of four wickets.
Rikki Clarke (Surrey)
Clarke continues to bowl better than the sum of his 36-year-old parts, out-bowling Morne Morkel no less – though the Proteas pacer did still claim five in the match. But, Clarke took the same amount of wickets in the first innings, for only 29 runs to help bowl Hampshire out for just 135 and returned to strike twice more after the follow-on was enforced.
Matt Henry (Kent)
Another week in county cricket, and another hatful of wickets for New Zealand quick Henry, who has a staggering 43 wickets for the season, at an average of 11 – the next best in the second division is Derbyshire’s Duane Olivier’s 26. Henry’s haul has included two match 10-fors and four innings five-fors, the latest being his 6-58 in the first innings against Gloucestershire – the surprise being his 24 second-innings overs went wicketless as the game ended in a draw.
Zak Chappell (Leicestershire)
Promising 21-year-old paceman Chappell grabs a spot in our XI after his starring 6-44 to help bowl winless Northamptonshire out for 204 in their first innings. Chappell would add 40 useful runs in Leicestershire’s first innings on their way to a six-wicket win, that takes them third. Yes, Leicestershire third!
Jamie Porter (Essex)
The wickets just keep coming for Bailey! He trails County Championship leading wicket-takers Jake Ball and Fidel Edwards – who also claimed a five-for this week, but in a losing cause for Hampshire – by only four wickets on 26, having picked up seven in Essex’s five-wicket triumph over Lancashire – five of them coming, for just 30 runs, when crucially bowling the Lancs out for 108 in their second innings and leaving a manageable 105-run chase.
Duane Olivier (Derbyshire)
Olivier rounds off our all-pace attack after a total of 10 wickets in the match – one Derbyshire somehow contrived to lose, despite bowling Durham out for 96 in the first innings. Olivier edges out his fellow South Africam and former international team-mate Morkel and Chris Rushworth, whose five-for in the second innings helped Durham clinch victory, due to his 5-20 to skittle the eventual winners on that first morning.
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