CRICKET: Top two set for duel in the Park

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THEY’RE calling it the most crucial clash between Yorkshire and Derbyshire for years.

Certainly it is in terms of affecting both sides’ promotion prospects and not least because Derbyshire - often struggling in recent times - now find themselves in pole position in the Division Two promotion race in the County Championship.

It should mean (weather permitting) a bigger crowd across the four days at Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park for the clash which starts today.

Yorkshire are second but trail by 25 points (from level games) so need a win to cut the deficit. With two promoted, Yorkshire lead third-placed Kent by seven points from a game more.

Much interest will centre on Yorkshire opener Joe Root. The 21-year-old Sheffielder is in peak form after last Friday’s magnificent 222 not out in the rain-ruined game against Hampshire last week.

But interest too on the in-form Garry Ballance, formerly with Derbyshire.

Phil Jaques again deputises as captain for Andrew Gale who has a hip injury whilst Steve Harmison, on loan from Durham, should figure.

Aussie Usman Khawaja found form with a century in Derbyshire’s defeat of Unicorns on Sunday.