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Cricket: LV= County Championship Previews

Aussie star Marnus Labuschagne will be looking to cement his status as the world’s No.1 batsman in Cardiff on Thursday.

That suits Glamorgan just fine as he will doing so in their colours when they take on Worcestershire in the LV= County Championship.

It may be a humble Division Two clash between two sides in early season mid-table, but it’s all about context.

The Ashes Test series is fast approaching, Labuschagne is likely to be the run threat England have to contain this summer, so plenty of eyes, especially Down Under, will be trained on Sophia Gardens for the next four days.

There was plenty of excitement in Australia last week when Labuschagne cracked a magnificent unbeaten 170 against Yorkshire at Headingley.

It came off just 207 balls, although with forecast rain that duly followed, Glamorgan probably delayed their declaration for too long and ended up drawing a match they should have won.

How good was Labuschagne at Leeds? This was the view of Glamorgan’s experienced English batsman Sam Northeast.

“He was almost ridiculous at times,” Northeast said. “When he came out after tea and said he wanted to put his foot down, he did exactly that.

“He played some special shots. Unfortunately for England fans, he looks like he’s in pretty good touch.”

Worcestershire’s bowlers were given a tough time by Sussex last week with Cheteshwar Pujara plundering 136 and, although they managed to hang on for a draw against an Ollie Robinson-inspired Sussex, they could well find the going just as tough against Labuschagne.

Glamorgan are still searching for their first victory of 2023, while Worcestershire have one notched up already when they beat Derbyshire in the opening round.

But the Welsh county can boast the current leading wicket taker in Division Two at present, Timm van der Gugten.

Elsewhere in Division Two, leaders Durham are at home to sixth-placed Yorkshire, Sussex – in second spot – are away to third-placed Leicestershire, and Derbyshire and Gloucestershire have their own private basement battle.

In Division One, the leaders Surrey host fifth-placed Middlesex, fresh from Surrey’s salvaged draw against Essex where they were indebted to youngster Jamie Smith.

The 22-year-old dug in and made 39 not out in a show of defiance that typified their determination to hang on to their champions’ crown.

Warwickshire, currently second, are at home to Essex, who are third in what could prove an intriguing clash at Edgbaston.

The home county haven’t lost to Essex since 2019 and are coming off the back of their first victory over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl since 2010.

In the remainder of the Division One Fixtures, bottom-of-the-table Kent host fifth-placed Hampshire, Lancashire fight it out at home to Somerset, who are one place beneath them in ninth, and Northamptonshire – one from bottom – host Nottinghamshire, who are seventh.


Kent v Hampshire

Venue: The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury

Lancashire v Somerset

Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

Northamptonshire v Nottinghamshire

Venue: The County Ground, Northampton

Surrey v Middlesex

Venue: The Kia Oval, London

Warwickshire v Essex

Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham


Derbyshire v Gloucestershire

Venue: The Incora County Ground, Derby

Durham v Yorkshire

Venue: Seat Unique Riverside, Chester-le-Street

Glamorgan v Worcestershire

Venue: Sophia Gardens Cardiff, Cardiff

Leicestershire v Sussex

Venue: Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester

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