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County Championship 2022

Englandwatch: How England’s Test players fared in the first round of the County Championship

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

The County Championship season is underway and so is the race for England selection – the men’s Test side is next in action against New Zealand at the start of June.

We’ve had a look at how England players – those who featured in the West Indies and/or played Test cricket in 2021 – performed in the first round of fixtures.

Alex Lees – Durham

182* v Glamorgan

The left-handed opener enjoyed a spectacular start to the summer. In a rain-affected clash with Glamorgan at Cardiff, Lees carried his bat in Durham’s only innings to hit a 358-ball 182*, his highest score for the county he joined in 2018. Having endured a difficult start to his Test career last month in the Caribbean – Lees’ highest score in six innings was 31 – this innings will boost his chances of holding on to a top-order spot for the New Zealand Tests.


Rory Burns – Surrey

41 & 22* v Warwickshire

The man Lees has replaced at the top of the order, Burns hit 41 in his first innings of the season before offering left-arm spinner Danny Briggs a simple return catch. More eye-catching than his score was a technique that appears to have been tinkered with during pre-season. As the match petered out to a draw, he returned to the crease to hit an unbeaten 22 on the final day. In-between innings, he even had a trundle with the ball, bowling five overs and conceding six runs.

Ollie Pope – Surrey

58 v Warwickshire

Forced to watch from the bench in the Caribbean after Dan Lawrence won the No.4 spot, Pope impressed on day one of the Warwickshire match, finishing it unbeaten on 40 off 46 balls after striking four boundaries off one Henry Brookes over. He added 18 more runs the following day, ending his 85-ball innings with 11 fours.

Ben Foakes – Surrey

132* v Warwickshire

After a difficult return to the Test set-up against the West Indies – he succumbed to two single-figure scores in the defeat in Grenada – Foakes showcased a return to form in the Championship, top-scoring for Surrey after hitting his 12th first-class hundred.

Dom Sibley – Warwickshire

0 v Surrey

An innings to forget for Sibley against his former club. Launching a drive at a ball wide outside off, Sibley chopped on off the bowling of Reece Topley to depart for a first-ball duck.

Dan Lawrence – Essex

7 & 3-98 v Kent

Lawrence missed out in a run-laden draw at Chelmsford, where both Essex and Kent put up more than 500 in their first innings. Facing former teammate Matt Quinn, Lawrence left a ball that had him lbw for 7. He ended up playing a more active role with the ball as Kent batted for more than 187 overs in their only innings; bowling 24.3 overs, Lawrence removed centurion Jordan Cox on his way to figures of 3-98.

James Bracey – Gloucestershire

117 & 8 v Northamptonshire

While Bracey struggled in his two Test appearances last summer against New Zealand as a keeper-batter at No.7, hitting just eight runs across three innings, he has bounced back impressively in recent months. Batting at No.3 as a specialist batter for England Lions, he hit a century against Australia A in December and followed up that innings with his eighth first-class hundred last week.

Haseeb Hameed – Nottinghamshire

5 & 12* v Sussex

Hameed edged behind early off Steve Finn in his first innings of the summer, but he was out in the middle when Notts wrapped up a crushing 10-wicket win, hitting a six-ball 12 in a chase of 14.

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