In what could almost amount to a title decider, Yorkshire face their biggest rivals for the County Championship crown, Durham, at Scarborough today.
Yorkshire are top of the table on 181 points with Durham second on 155.5 but with a game in hand (at home to fourth-placed Sussex next week).
Andrew Gale’s side go into it knowing a win would create a huge gap, probably an unsurmountable one, over Durham. But, likewise, a Durham win would make big inroads into Yorkshire’s lead and, with a game in hand, Durham could turn the race their way.
Neither are the third and fourth placed clubs Middlesex and Sussex, both on 148 points, out of it either particularly as they both have to play Yorkshire whilst Sussex and Durham still have to meet twice.
A draw would suit Yorkshire the better over the next four days with bumper crowds expected at North Marine Road as Yorkshire look to strengthen their position in their bid to be champions again in their 150th anniversary year.
Gary Ballance is back after his century for England Lions whilst Jonny Bairstow again figures and with Phil Jaques and New Zealander Kane Williamson in too, it represents Yorkshire’s strongest batting line-up of the season, missing only Joe Root who was called into England’s T20 squad, the first of those two clashes with Australia being tomorrow.
“It’s a tough selection decision,” admitted captain Gale.
“The guys put in a fantastic effort to win inside three days at Trent Bridge but there’s no secret formula, we are nailing the basics.
“Even though we are clear at the top, we know there’s a lot of cricket to be played.
“We are excited about what the next five weeks hold and it should be an interesting end to the season.”