2019-09-01 06:07:00

Your essential guide to the season

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10.07am: Morning all and welcome back to the county cricket live blog. Our writers will be here with all the second day's play shortly. Richard Gibson is at Aigburth for Lancashire v Sussex, Andy Wilson is at Lord's for Middlesex v Surrey and Richard Rae is at Edgbaston for Warwickshire v Somerset.

10.34am: Good morning from Lord's, which is looking a picture, writes Andy Wilson. Sorry to come across all Henry Blofeld or CMJ, but it is a bit of a treat to be here for Middlesex's first home game in Division One of the Championship since 2006.

It's a London derby, if a northern visitor is allowed to call it that, against Surrey, who were promoted with Middlesex last season. But Surrey have a lousy recent record here, at least in the Championship. They have lost by an innings on each of their last two visits, and haven't won at Lord's for eight matches stretching way back to 1997, when the Championship was a single-division competition sponsored by Britannic Assurance, Middlesex included Fraser, Gatting and Tufnell, and Saqlain Mushtaq took 10 wickets for a Surrey side that also included Thorpe, Lewis and both Hollioakes.

But Surrey come into this game having won their first game back in the top flight, against Sussex at The Oval last week, and are further boosted by the availability of Steven Davies, who replaces Rory Burns. Middlesex were spun out by George Dockrell at Taunton, so their need for points is more pressing. Teams and toss to follow when they're confirmed.

10.46am: A very, very good morning to all, writes Richard Rae, perched high up in the media suite overlooking Warwickshire and Somerset warming up at Edgbaston.

Team news first: the absence through injury of both Boyd Rankin and Chris Woakes for Warwickshire's opening match of the season has prompted Ashley Giles to call up the veteran left-armer and pinch-hitter Neil Carter, an unexpected start to his benefit year for the 37-year-old, who made only two champo appearances last season. He's joined in the Warwickshire side by another 37-year-old in Darren Maddy, who also played little championship cricket last season, partly through injury and partly because of the the overseas batsman situation. This year, of course, the overseas man is an off-spinner, New Zealand's Jeetan Patel - a familiar face to the Warwickshire members.

Somerset have no such injury worries, and include their South African fast bowler Vernon Philander, lest we forget the joint second fastest (in terms of time taken rather than pace of delivery) bowler to take 50 Test wickets. Accuracy, rather than express pace, seemed to be the key factor when Philander took 5-43 and 2-38 in the six wicket win over Middlesex last week: according to Joe Denly, but we won't see him straight away – Zum have won the toss and chosen to bat.

11.13am: I have just witnessed the first ball of Lancashire's County Championship title defence, writes Richard Gibson at Aigburth. It was a rather sloppy affair too. Having lost their first toss and been inserted by Sussex, they got off the mark immediately when Murray Goodwin misfielded at square-leg to provide Paul Horton with a single. Lancashire opted to omit Gary Keedy, preferring fellow left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, while both clubs had their overseas players amongst their ranks. Beanpole Australian fast bowler Steve Magoffin is sharing the new ball with James Anyon while Ashwell Prince has returned for a third spell with the red rose.

11.44am: Magoffin, like his Lancashire opponents, is a current champion, having triumphed in the Sheffield Shield final with Queensland last month, writes Richard Gibson at Aigburth. The 32-year-old had quite a match against Tasmania at the Gabba – crow-barred out of bed by the Queensland physio Martin Love on the second morning, due to chronic back spasms, and dosed up with painkillers to continue his participation, which according to the man himself sound 'like a Tictac pack' running in to bowl, it was his unbeaten 26 from number nine that sealed a three-wicket win at the Gabba after the home team slumped to 88 for seven. But it is with the ball that he has made an impression at Aigburth. His metronomic approach looks tailor-made for this out-ground surface, and he has his first victim: Stephen Moore bowled shouldering arms off an inside edge. The club flag might be flying over Liverpool City Hall this morning to mark Lancashire's return to their adopted home of 2011 but Moore's departure was followed by that of Paul Horton, turned around by a fine delivery from Anyon, making it a rather underwhelming start to 2012 for Glan Chapple's team.

12.54pm: A fascinating if interrupted and now truncated morning's play at Edgbaston has seen Somerset, after winning the toss and choosing to bat, reduced to 53-5 by Warwickshire, reports Richard Rae. Whether there was an element of them knowing Warwickshire were without leading seamers Boyd Rankin and Chris Woakes in their decision who knows, but both Keith Barker and Chris Wright found plenty of movement through the air, and occasionally off the pitch.

Arul Suppiah was first to go, caught by Rikki Clarke at second slip off
Wright, before Barker - having previously beaten the former England opener
at least five times - got Marcus Trescothick with a beautiful away swinger,
also edged to Clarke at second slip.

Barker then bowled James Hildreth first ball with the help of an inside
edge. Craig Kieswetter tucked Barker away for a couple of legside
boundaries as the bowler began to tire, but then got a delivery from Wright
that left him off the pitch and edged to Darren Maddy at third slip. Last
to go was Nick Compton, who never looked happy before being trapped leg
before by Wright. A heavyish shower means it's an early lunch, but there's
plenty of blue sky around.

1.59pm: A really intriguing morning's play at Aigburth, writes Richard Gibson. This is the kind of pitch Steve Magoffin, Sussex's overseas debutant, would no doubt like to roll up and carry around with him. Both he and new-ball partner James Anyon found appreciable seam movement from it to leave defending county champions Lancashire reeling at 48 for four at lunch. The Tictac man (see earlier post) was rattling during an opening spell of 10-7-5-1 from the River End while Anyon continued his prolific start to the season with three more wickets. His first two - Paul Horton edging into the slips, and Ashwell Prince feathering a delivery of extra bounce that left him - came from the Aigburth Road End. Karl Brown followed when Anyon relieved Magoffin at the other, with a full delivery that nipped back to win a leg-before decision. This match already appears to be following the pattern of a majority of the matches here last season, when ball dominated bat in the first innings. So Lancashire might consider a score of 200 as around par. There is a decent covering of grass on the pitch, and the rejuvenated Monty Panesar has already tested the old adage that if it seams it spins with two deliveries that have ripped past the outside edge of Steven Croft's bat.

4.08pm: Jade Dernbach has put on a show for the watching England selector James Whitaker here at Lord's, writes Andy Wilson. The tall Surrey seamer, who is already a regular in the one-day set-up, has just gone off with figures of three for 16 in 11 overs, and Middlesex in trouble at 108 for five. Dernbach was held back by his captain Rory Hamilton-Brown for a puzzling amount of time, eventually introduced as Surrey's fifth bowler as late as the 18th over by which time Middlesex had reached 61 for one having been put in.

But in his third over, he had Chris Rogers lbw with a cracker that darted back into the Australian left-hander. Then, after heavy rain during and after lunch had delayed the resumption until 2-55pm, Dernbach fired out Neil Dexter and John Simpson with consecutive balls. He's been quick, aggressive and also intelligent, working over Dexter comprehensively during the Middlesex captain's brief innings. Dernbach has heavy strapping on the lower half of his right arm, which is something to do with his latest tattoo.

Tim Linley comes across as a much more reserved character, but he's also bowled very well to justify his selection ahead of Stuart Meaker. He made the first breakthrough of this delayed afternoon session with a beautiful piece of swing bowling to dismiss Sam Robson, who had batted impressively in testing conditions to make a chanceless 40 before lunch. Now he's castled Gareth Berg with a hooping outswinger which started on leg stump and lured Berg into swishing across the line towards square leg. Middlesex are 108 for six.

4.45pm: Two words to you all from sunny Liverpool: pitch inspector, writes Richard Gibson at Aigburth. Peter Walker is the pitch liaison officer in question (to use the official parlance) and is not unduly concerned by the cascade of wickets. "I can't see anything wrong with the pitch," was Walker's assessment. "Both sides have bowled extremely well on it." Seconds later, Murray Goodwin was forced onto the back foot, the ball ricocheted into the stumps off a defensive prod, and Sussex were 15 for three. They were dismissed for 243 in the corresponding fixture last season, and they would be happy to replicate it from here, as it would give them control of the match.