County Championship Team of the Week: Centuries galore in fourth round action

Each week the cricketer picks a team from the LV=Insurance County Championship Round

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The cricketer picks an outstanding eleven from the third round of the LV=Insurance County Championship and a handful of honorable mentions.

Matt Renshaw (Somerset)

There were higher scores from the opening hitters in the fourth round of the LV = Insurance County Championship but not many who put their team on the road to victory. And of those who have won, few needed a victory more than Matt Renshaw and Somerset.

Australia’s 129 set the tone for Somerset’s first victory in eight matches after seven straight defeats; after losing to Surrey, Jason Kerr stressed he felt his side were on the verge of turning the tide, and a century away from his overseas player – just the second achieved by a Somerset player in this big-scoring season – finally gave the vaunted county bowling attack the tools to work with, winning by an innings.

Chris Dent (Gloucestershire)

One of the country’s best openers for the better part of a decade, the former Gloucestershire captain made his first century out of the campaign – to sit alongside two fifty-somethings – by becoming his county’s fourth player to triple digits in April alone.

For such a consistent hitter over the years, it wasn’t before the hour either: Dent, who relinquished the captaincy late last season, hadn’t made a first-class cent since 2019, when he had hit four. If not for that two-year twist, he might have been closer to international reckoning now. Not that there is the slightest doubt about his talent; reaching his undefeated 207, Dent has passed 10,000 first-class races. Many with smaller bodies of work have opened batting for England.

Cheteshwar Pujara (Sussex)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cheteshwar Pujara has proven to be a wise deal from Sussex, fitting into the middle order of a young team desperate for a steady stream of runs. In India’s Veteran #3, they found what they were looking for. That – 203 against Durham, a shot that created a winning chance that was eventually extinguished by a fine fightback – was Pujara’s third hundred of the summer in just five innings.

He’s already over halfway to 1,000 races for the summer – for all the talk of Shan Masood and Ben Compton, don’t rule out Pujara in the race to reach that milestone first. He was helped by a concussion to Chris Rushworth which ruled out Durham’s top bowler, but the assist he would have got on a pitch which, on his final day, produced an opening stand of 313 runs (between Alex Lees and Sean Dickson) is debatable. .

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Nick Gubbins made two centuries in Hampshire’s draw with Lancashire (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Nick Gubbins (Hampshire)

In the end, the weather starved Division 1 of a successful final day at the Ageas Bowl, where both teams left their legs on a pitch that – it was thought after day one – would get tougher. to beat as the match progressed. .

Instead, Hampshire racked up 344 runs in their second set against an attack still possessing James Anderson and Hassan Ali, pushed by Nick Gubbins, who made twin ages in the game (101 not out, 130): a few efforts in a game where there were counter-attacking the 50s of the others lowest in the respective orders, but no other of the top five hitters exceeded 33. After leaving Middlesex for Hampshire in the middle of last summer , he now averages 44.21 for his new county.

Harry Brook (Yorkshire)

Narrowly ahead of his team-mate, Dawid Malan, in the weight of runs alone (194 against 152), Harry Brook is having a perfect start to the season, with England once again on the lookout for options. Still aged just 23, it would be nice if the Yorkshireman had the chance to hone his domestic cricket game for another year before being blasted onto the international stage, although his early season form – 512 runs, in average 170.6 – will certainly have raised eyebrows at Rob Key.

His final hundred – just six runs short of a double, having come to the crease with his side well under the cosh at 23-for-3 in the 22nd – could well have led Yorkshire to victory over Kent, if there had been no bad light preventing the prospect of an exciting evening pursuit at Headingley.

Jamie Smith (Surrey)

If you’ve looked at Surrey’s scoreboard, you could have been forgiven for assuming their draw with Gloucestershire had taken place at The Oval, where such results have been commonplace of late. Instead, it was the product of three days in Bristol – the fourth was lost in the rain – dominated by the bat over the ball, with Jamie Smith leading.

As for Brook, it was not all easy; he was in the crease when Surrey were 37 for 3, having been asked to bat first, only he was still in the crease nearly 150 overs later when the final wicket – from Reece Topley – was taken. In the process there were many records, including a new all-time record for Surrey’s eighth wicket: 244 between Smith and Jordan Clark, who achieved Surrey’s highest first-class scoreline with a No.9.

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Harry Brook dropped six runs on a double cent (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Guest Brooke (Derbyshire)

The wicketkeeper of this composite selection, the Derbyshire man – signed from Lancashire in 2020 – enjoyed the match of his career in a Derby thriller. In the process, he tripled his career century tally, making it from No. 3, which allowed Wayne Madsen to park at No. 4. Madsen himself made a hundred second innings for Derbyshire in a 276-point stand alongside Guest, setting up a statement from which they came close to losing, such was Glamorgan’s ambition – they were 310 for 8 in the 55th when hands were finally shaken with the few visitors.

For Guest, who made 109 and 138, it was a breakthrough performance following the forced retirement of Harvey Hosein at the end of last season, becoming only the second Derbyshire wicketkeeper to achieve the feat of two hundred in the same match.

Ed Barnard (Worcestershire)

The Worcestershire man started last April without a top-class hundred and a lingering sense of frustration that was the missing piece to his game that would prevent him from being seen as a true all-rounder in some quarters. So, producing his first century against Essex lifted that weight off his shoulders. A year later, albeit in a lost cause, it was April again; in a curious game played sometimes in fast forward mode (Ben Duckett made 50 of 39 balls, Stuart Broad 45 of 27, Haseeb Hameed 53 of 56), Barnard came to the crease at 32 for 4 in the second end, looking at the possibility of a defeat in the face game.

When Dillon Pennington was the last man out a day later, he was still unbeaten, left locked on 163 – his trainer, Alex Gidman, calling the rounds “one of the best I’ve seen”. With Pennington dealing with a problem and Joe Leach also absent, Barnard was then called upon to open the bowling, cleaning up Hameed, having represented Joe Clarke and Lyndon James in the opening innings.

Ben Mike (Leicestershire)

A remarkable all-around display from the Leicestershire man who, for 97 overs in the Middlesex innings, seemed never to come. For some reason Mike was only called up to play once Mark Stoneman had racked up an extremely watchable century that had thrown Middlesex miles ahead in a game that had been theirs from the time Leicestershire was eliminated for 149 on an unblemished Lord. surface.

Mike, with the ECB speed guns in operation for the game, was introduced late and picked up 4 for 15 in a quick spell that hit 85 mph more than once, featuring Toby Roland-Jones wickets caught in hook, Luke Hollman beaten by a yorker and John Simpson and Ethan Bamber both managed to slip.

Once he was done with the ball, Mike headed for the crease with Leicestershire 105 for 5 and – like Barnard – fearing the prospect of an innings defeat. He responded with a fine counterattack, shooting four sixes, driving powerfully, taking on Shaheen Shah Afridi and looking a lot like the game-changing all-rounder that Paul Nixon imagined in him. The only shame, having missed a five-wicket shot earlier, was that he finished agonizingly unbeaten on the 99, with Beuran Hendricks shouldering his arms at a straight ball from Toby Roland-Jones.

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James Anderson and Stuart Broad were both in action for their counties (Warren Little/Getty Images)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

In another big-scoring week – in which there were 20 centuries across nine games – there were few notable displays with the ball. There were five wicket runs for Keith Barker, Suranga Lakmal, Steven Patterson, Olly Hannon-Dalby, Haris Rauf and Liam Trevaskis, but none of those ended in a win. Nor, of course, James Anderson’s efforts for Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl.

But his match numbers – 6 for 60 in 37 overs – represented a fine effort on competitive ground that almost certainly would have produced a result had it not been for Sunday’s weather.

Danish Paterson (Nottinghamshire)

The week’s top bowler, who finished a game 10 wickets away when he took the last wicket in Worcestershire’s second leg. The story of the game at Trent Bridge was meant to be Stuart Broad’s return to competitive action, only for the English dressmaker to be eclipsed by his South African counterpart, who claimed the extraordinary figures of 8 for 52 – the best County. Championship so far this summer.

Honorable Mentions: Marnus Labuschagne, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Luke Procter, Wayne Madsen, Keith Barker, Jordan Clark, Sean Dickson, Alex Lees



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