Englandwatch: Another Pope Oval masterclass, a double failure for Crawley and Anderson gets the better of Cook
@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read
A rain-affected second round of the 2023 County Championship still saw plenty of thrilling action in both Divisions with several England stars playing leading roles up and down the country.
Here’s a look at how the players involved in England Test squads over the past 12 months fared in the latest round of fixtures.
Zak Crawley: 12 & 0 vs Warwickshire
Crawley endured a tough third day at Edgbaston, falling twice lbw to Chris Rushworth over the course of just a few hours as Kent lost by an innings. Crawley can count himself unfortunate with the second of those dismissals – replays showed that the ball was likely going down leg stump – but his twin failures mean that despite the 91 he scored in his first knock of the summer last week, his career first-class average has now dipped below 30.
Sam Billings: 11 & 4 vs Warwickshire
A similarly low scoring match for Crawley’s Kent captain Sam Billings.
Ollie Pope: 91 & 122* vs Hampshire
Pope was a class above in what was already an extremely high-quality affair against Hampshire at The Kia Oval. Pope made light work of what ought to have been a demanding final day chase, rattling off his final 100 runs from just 70 deliveries after the tea interval. He averages an astonishing 73.45 across 44 matches for Surrey in the County Championship.
Ben Duckett: 75 & 15 vs Somerset
An impressive week’s work for Duckett in a relatively low-scoring game against Somerset at Trent Bridge. The free-scoring left-hander has not erred away from his naturally attacking instincts so far this summer and though he is yet to register a landmark score has looked in good touch.
Stuart Broad: 0-30 & 2-21 vs Somerset
A quiet return to action from Stuart Broad, but given Somerset’s paltry efforts with the bat, he wasn’t actually required to do that much bowling. His dismissal of Cameron Bancroft in the second innings was an absolute peach.
Jack Leach: 0-36 & 1-20 vs Nottinghamshire
Leach wasn’t called upon too often in a match dominated by seam. He was expensive in the first innings going at a run a ball as he was targeted by England teammate Duckett.
Keaton Jennings: 1 & 96 vs Essex
Good second-innings runs from Jennings as he continued his decent start to the summer, backing up his second innings 76 against Surrey in the opening week of the campaign.
James Anderson: 4-70 & 1-24 vs Essex
Anderson got 35 overs into his legs across the course of the Essex fixture and dismissed his longtime England teammate – and captain – Alastair Cook in both innings.
Matt Parkinson: Not selected
Less than a year ago, Matt Parkinson was England’s second-choice spinner. Fast forward 12 months, and he’s not a guaranteed pick for his county with left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, who toured with England Lions this winter, preferred to the 26-year-old leg-spinner.
Dan Lawrence: 39 & 15 vs Lancashire
Lawrence couldn’t back up his excellent hundred from the opening week as Essex managed to avoid defeat against a strong Lancashire side on the final day.
Alex Lees: 70 & 22 vs Worcestershire
Lees’ strike rate in the high 60s is perhaps the most interesting aspect of his campaign so far. It’s a far cry from his strike rate of 43.10 that he registered in the season that preceded his England call-up – although currently out of the England side, he’s clearly still living by the Stokes-McCullum mantra.
Matt Potts: 3-110 & 3-67 vs Worcestershire
Potts’ influence on this game was more than his figures suggest – he took two wickets in two balls late on the final day to tilt the tie back in Durham’s favour as Worcestershire briefly threatened to escape with a draw.
Rehan Ahmed: 33 & 2-38
One of the games most adversely affected by the weather, other than the pursuit of bonus points there wasn’t really anything to play for on the final day when Ahmed did all of his work with both bat and ball.
Chris Woakes: 2-28 & 3-59 vs Kent
Woakes is yet to feature in a Test in the McCullum-Stokes era having missed the entirety of the 2022 English summer through injury. His outing against Kent was his first in first-class cricket since the 2022 Grenada Test, Joe Root’s last as England captain. In an impressive comeback performance, Woakes claimed five wickets in an innings victory that was achieved despite day two ending as a washout. He averages 22.63 with the ball in home Tests, a and Test comeback cannot be ruled out this summer.
Jack Haynes: 134* & 40 vs Durham
A career-best score for 22-year-old Haynes who was an England Lions tourist over the winter. England’s middle order looks set for the near future, but Haynes is certainly one to keep an eye on in the years to come.
Ben Compton: 14 & 88 vs Warwickshire
Compton fell 12 runs short of scoring his sixth first-class hundred in as many games. Compton is not a brisk run-scorer but he is a reliable one; in another era he would be right on the cusp of a Test call-up.
Sam Hain: 165* vs Kent
Hain is in a similar boat to Compton. He already has two County Championship hundreds to his name this season, following on from his outstanding 2022 campaign that saw him finish the year as Division One’s third-leading run-scorer.