No pressure – but if the pace bowlers Australia have chosen to do battle for the Ashes fail to prosper in English conditions there will be a few questions asked, especially given the identity of two of the leading wicket-takers in the Championship so far.
Top of the list on 37 is Steve Magoffin, the 33-year-old from Queensland who never played Test cricket yet who has been key to Sussex’s prominent showing in the First Division. Magoffin is one ahead of Trent Copeland, the 27-year-old from New South Wales who has helped Northamptonshire race to a 44-point lead at the top of the Second Division. Copeland finished off Worcestershire for figures of 6 for 41 (9 for 92 in the match) to set up a 10-wicket victory over Worcestershire at Wantage Road before signing off his county stint – not to join Michael Clarke’s squad but to return home for scheduled surgery on a minor ankle injury.
Batsman of the day
After three first-class centuries in his first season as Yorkshire captain and two in his second, there was no reason to suspect the demands of being in charge were in any way detrimental to Andrew Gale’s form with the bat. But that all changed after relegation in 2011, which prefaced Gale’s leanest season since he established himself in the side, and a 12-month run in which he passed 50 only twice and saw his international prospects diminish. It did not stop him leading Yorkshire to promotion at the first attempt, however, and his patience was rewarded at Scarborough yesterday as his first century since August 2011 – and his third at the seaside venue – spearheaded a Yorkshire fightback against Nottinghamshire.
Yorkshire academy player Matthew Fisher – aged 15 years and 213 days – is poised to become the youngest player to appear in a competitive county match in England after being named in Yorkshire’s squad for their YB40 game against Leicestershire at Scarborough tomorrow. If selected, he will beat the record set by Royston Gabe-Jones who played for Glamorgan, also against Leicestershire, at Cardiff Arms Park in 1922, aged 15 years and 274 days.