LVCC REVIEW: James Anderson still quality as County Championship commences

There were wins for Sussex, Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire in the opening round of matches in the LV= County Championship. Despite Lancashire’s defeat, James Anderson remains a class act.

lv-bannerby Daniel Grummit

Many people’s favourites for the Division One title, Middlesex, were humbled by an innings and 127 runs at Hove, while Division Two title contenders, Surrey, were dispatched by Glamorgan after a second innings collapse that saw them skittled for only 81.

So, besides the fact that county cricket remains deliciously unpredictable, what else can we learn from the round one action?

Lancashire are hugely reliant on Ashwell Prince

Many pundits predicted it at the start of the season and it proved absolutely true at Trent Bridge. Prince could make only 16 in their first innings as they were bowled out for just 144. Then, chasing 349 in the fourth innings to win, he took them to within sight of the winning line before being last man out for exactly 100 as they fell 45 runs short.

All of which means that Peter Moores’ ambitions to replace Andy Flower as England’s head coach took a bit of a blow just as his campaign was gathering pace in the national media. Some Lancashire supporters would have questioned his decision to play quite so many all-rounders in the final eleven - four if you include Luis Reece - and leave out the more specialist batting of Karl Brown and Steven Croft.

James Anderson remains a class act

In that same match, James Anderson gave Lancashire an ideal start, helping reduce the hosts to 20 for three before Samit Patel and Alex Hales led a fightback. He ended with five for 55 from 22 overs, leading George Dobell on ESPNcricinfo to write: “there is no bowler in England anywhere near his class…in conditions like these - on a damp, green pitch offering substantial seam movement - he is as effective as anyone.”

Promotion is far from guaranteed for Surrey

Surrey have decided to go with a young side this season, jettisoning the likes of Jon Lewis and Zander de Bruyn, as they aim for a period of sustained success. However, the flaws in that strategy were all too painfully exposed against Glamorgan. They overcame a poor start to gain a first innings lead as the impressive Zafar Ansari proved that he is quite capable of batting at number four by top-scoring with 74. Unfortunately, youth often brings inconsistency, and Graham Wagg and Michael Hogan ensured that 18 would be the highest score in their second innings as they were all out for 81.

Sussex have a superb seam attack

To dismiss a side containing batsmen of the calibre of Chris Rogers, Sam Robson and Eoin Morgan for 105 and then 154 is not easy. However, a seam attack that is led by the dependable Steve Magoffin and includes the reliable James Anyon and the hungry pair of Steffan Piolet and Jon Lewis is a strong one, especially when one considers that Chris Jordan will be added to it in the near future. Eyebrows were perhaps raised when Sussex decided to sign Lewis over the winter but, with match figures of six for 55, he showed that he could follow in Jordan’s footsteps in proving another shrewd acquisition from Surrey.

Hampshire continue to underperform

They have been the form side in limited-overs cricket over the past few seasons but, despite being repeatedly tipped for promotion in season previews, they remain firmly ensconced in Division Two of the LV= County Championship. Their performance against Worcestershire, arguably contenders for the wooden spoon, showed why.

A top-order collapse left them 105 for six before Sean Ervine rescued them with 93. They then struggled to dismiss Worcestershire’s best two players, Moeen Ali and Daryl Mitchell, as the Pears earnt a first innings lead. A seam attack of James Tomlinson, Matt Coles, David Balcombe and Ervine should do better, but questions continue over the repeated absence of left-arm spinner Danny Briggs from the four-day side.

Daniel Grummitt

Cricket Writer at World Cricket Badger
Daniel first began writing about cricket in 2011, having been a fan of the game ever since his Grandad introduced him to it at the age of 10.

He worked for CricketWorld.com for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.

The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.

Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!

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