The Australians are dominating the county championship once again. With the English squad now away, it is up to the Australian overseas players to stand up.
Marcus Harris is the clear standout Australian from this round of matches, with Peter Siddle continuing his wicket-taking ways. The Inner Sanctum takes you through all the Australians in the county system.
Peter Siddle (Essex) – 6 wickets
Coming up against Cameron Bancroft’s Durham, Peter Siddle was as economical as ever.
Essex managed to roll Durham for only 99 in the first innings, of which Siddle played a considerable part. Siddle managed to take the wicket off top scorer and countryman Cameron Bancroft before taking two more key wickets through the middle order. The first innings brought figures of 14 overs 3-29 for Siddle.
The second innings was similar in that Durham didn’t get anywhere near Essex, Siddle running through the middle order to guarantee his side’s victory.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, Siddle is finding his straps, finishing the second innings with 23 overs 3-47 to finish with six wickets for the match. Importantly Siddle’s economy was only just above two, an absolutely elite effort from the veteran.
Cameron Bancroft (Durham) – 24 runs
Opening the batting in county cricket is one of the most difficult cricketing jobs in the world. Facing that dark duke’s ball in overcast conditions on green pitches is near on impossible. Bancroft has struggled, especially against the quality that was the Essex bowling lineup.
In the first innings, Bancroft was the only batsman to get a decent start before an LBW from Peter Siddle left him out for 20. With the side being bowled out for 99, a score of 20 was as good as could be expected from Bancroft. Unfortunately, the second innings was a failure for Bancroft, scoring only four runs before being bowled by seamer Jamie Porter. Bancroft needs to start turning his season around on the crease by getting back to his high-scoring best.
Ben McDermott (Derbyshire) – 26 runs
Coming in as the overseas replacement for fellow Australian Billy Stanlake, McDermott unfortunately could not get Derbyshire over the line.
It was an innings defeat for Derbyshire in McDermott’s first match for the side. Primarily known as a T20 specialist and having played for Australia in the format, it will be interesting to see how McDermott transitions to first-class cricket. McDermott’s first innings looked good, with free-flowing shots that have become his trademark.
He managed to get himself to 25 before being caught, three hard struck boundaries being the highlight. Unfortunately, with Derbyshire following on, McDermott did not seem ready to bat again. He made only one run before falling LBW to the Worcestershire opener Dillon Pennington. With McDermott in the UK for the rest of the season, he will primarily focus on the T20 blast for Derbyshire.
Travis Head (Sussex) – 1 run
It has been a horror start to the county season for Travis Head. After making 893 runs in the Sheffield Shield last season in only seven matches, Head has had an unbelievable drop of form.
Against Northamptonshire, it was no different, in what was another defeat for the Sussex side. Batting at 4, Head made only one run in the first innings, facing only three balls. The horror run continued into the second innings with Head getting yet another duck, this time caught from one time England spinner Simon Kerrigan.
If Head is to get back into the Australian side, a reversal of form is needed before the summer begins.
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Sean Abbott (Surrey) – 40 runs, 2 wickets
The Aussie all-rounder who took the Sheffield Shield by storm last season has continued that good form into the county summer.
It was an innings victory for Surrey against Gloucestershire, who are looking like finishing on top of their group. Batting first, Surrey put Abbott in at 8, lower than many expected considering his batting development over the Australian summer. Abbott managed to put on 40 runs, including an 82-run partnership with South African legend Hashim Amla.
Abbott went wicketless in the first innings on a pitch that was favouring the spinners. He bowled only 10 overs for figures of 0-22. The second innings went better, although he was only afforded five overs. Abbott took the important wicket of Gloucestershire captain Chris Dent, as well as number 4 batsman Tom Lace. Abbott finished with 5 overs 2-5, with an eye to the T20 blast Sean Abbott looks dangerous with both bat and ball.
Dan Worrall (Gloucestershire) – 0 Wickets
It was a difficult match for both Worrall and Gloucestershire, as one went wicketless and the other suffered a colossal defeat. With Surrey only required to bat once, Worral was not afforded the luxury of a second bowling innings.
It was not a match for Worrall to write home about, with his 25 overs going completely wicketless. He would finish with 25 overs 0-68, not an overly expensive match for Worrall but going wicketless was a horrific result.
Peter Handscomb (Middlesex) – 62 runs
The Middlesex captain has seemed to gain some form back after his half-century in the last match.
Against Leicestershire, Handscomb managed two good starts without being able to go on with it. However, the starts were much better than his first four matches, with Handscomb previously not making a score above 12.
In the first innings, Handscomb managed 26 from 57 balls, including five fours, in an innings that overall lacked consistency. With 20 of his runs coming from boundaries, Handscomb did not seem to turn the strike over.
The second innings went slightly better with 36 runs coming from the Handscomb bat, this time managing only four boundaries. Overall, a much better match for Handscomb with the bat.
Marcus Harris (Leicestershire) – 188 runs
The only Australian to take the county season by force, Marcus Harris added to his run tally against Middlesex.
While it was a short first innings for Harris, only making three, it was the second innings in which Harris played one of his best innings. Chasing 377, Leicestershire needed a considerable effort with the bat, and Harris provided it in spades.
Harris struck 21 fours and a six on his way to 185. Importantly for the chase, Harris and Colin Ackerman shared a 243-run partnership to put the Foxes into a winning position. With Harris likely the third choice opener for Australia behind Warner and Pucovski, it was important for Australian fans to see Harris succeed.
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