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LV= County Championship Round 3 previews

Saturday 25th April 2015

Previews by Andy Wilson

Lancashire v Kent (Emirates Old Trafford) team news >>>

Gloucestershire v Derbyshire (Bristol)

Derbyshire name an unchanged squad despite their opening defeat by Lancashire, after which they were docked one of the five points they had earned because of a slow over-rate.

They have a poor record in Bristol, where they have only won once in nine visits, but beat Gloucestershire at Cheltenham last summer when Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored a half century in each innings. Gloucestershire, who drew their opening fixture at Northampton, are also unchanged.

Leicestershire v Northamptonshire (Grace Road)

Australian seamer Clint McKay is set to make his debut for Leicestershire after missing their opening match of the season, a draw against Glamorgan, because it clashed with his wedding.

That draw extended the county’s run of LV= County Championship matches without a win to 33 stretching back to September 2012, the worst in the competition since Northamptonshire in the 1930s. These teams have drawn their last four matches.

Ben Raine, a 23-year-old all-rounder from Sunderland, has signed a two-year contract extension with Leicestershire, and the highly-rated young seamer Olly Stone has signed on for another year with Northants.

They must decide whether to include Josh Cobb against his old county and Kyle Coetzer, the former Scotland captain who was also omitted from their opening draw against Gloucestershire, is also pressing for selection.

Surrey v Essex (Kia Oval)

James Foster, the Essex captain, says his team are relishing taking on the Surrey “superstars”, including Kumar Sangakkara and Kevin Pietersen, after winning their opening game against Kent.

That was a sixth consecutive win for Essex after their strong finish to the 2014 season, and they cross the Thames aiming to extend the run to seven which would be their best since 1995-6.

But they are still without Ravi Bopara because of his IPL commitments, and Tom Westley is out after breaking his thumb.

Surrey have yet to name their squad after Chris Tremlett missed the Glamorgan game with a hamstring injury but Pietersen is on the brink of making a small slice of club history, having scored 998 from 16 first-class innings since he joined them from Hampshire in 2010.

Mark Ramprakash and Zander de Bruyn are Surrey’s fastest to 1,000 first-class runs, having done so in 18 innings.