County Championship 2014: Round 3 Team of the Week
The third round of County Championship matches yielded just one result and six draws. It's always a long season and this one will be no different. Some really dubious weather interrupted matches all across the country this time and it was only Yorkshire who managed a result.
With that being said, Yorkshire were emphatic, beating Northants by an innings and 120 runs inside four days. Somerset got within 90 runs of a result, with Nick Compton leading the second-innings charge with a fine century.
There were some strong spells across the counties, despite the irksome weather.
In recognition of their efforts, how would an XI made up of the best players from the opening round of County Championship matches stack up?
Read on for a combined XI from Week 3's meetings.
1. Alastair Cook (Essex)
Alastair Cook has had a good start to his season. He's scored 481 runs at an average of 80.16. He managed 127 in the second innings against Surrey, after managing to make it to 39 in the first innings.
He might not have converted that first start, but he made it count in his second innings.
2. Varun Chopra (Warwickshire) / Paul Horton (Lancashire)
Varun Chopra had a solid and consistent outing for Warwickshire against Lancashire. He scored back-to-back half-centuries, with the second unbeaten as his teammates collapsed around him. He was the second highest scorer in Warwickshire's first innings and was the only one to not completely lose his cool in the second.
Warwickshire were reduced to 95-5 in their second innings, with nobody aside from Chopra managing to pass 20.
The No. 2 spot was a tough call, though. In the same match, for the opposite team, Paul Horton was equally impressive with 83 and 84 in the first and second innings. They will share the opening duties in an imaginary world, where subs exist for four-day cricket.
3. Nick Compton (Somerset)
Nick Compton has notched up 211 runs at an average of 52.75 this season and scored his highest score thus far against Durham.
An unbeaten 100 in Somerset's second innings set up the match to almost hand the visitors a surprise victory after they were bowled out for 185 in their first innings.
4. Ian Bell (Warwickshire)
Despite getting out unnecessarily in The Bears' second innings, Bell put on a good show in the first.
He notched up 75 off 162 in an innings which included eight fours and one six to help Warks post 324 in their first.
It comes on the back of an emphatic and unbeaten 189 against Sussex in his first game of the season. He's hitting form at just the right time.
5. Gary Ballance (Yorkshire)
Gary Ballance put on an outstanding show with the bat, scoring 174 off 256 to help Yorkshire post 459-9 against Northants. To bring up his 150, he played a ramp shot over the slips for six.
Yes, you read that right. It was audacious.
Ballance had a decent outing in his previous match, too, with 77 against Somerset. He's one to watch over the English summer, for sure.
6. Craig Kieswetter (Somerset) (w/k)
Craig Kieswetter edges ahead in the wicketkeeping stakes after scoring 35 and an unbeaten 78 against Durham.
With Somerset within touching distance of a win, Kieswetter tried to pace his second innings—scoring seven fours and two sixes—but it just wasn't quite enough to get his side over the line.
He took three catches in the match to add to his batting efforts and scored the most runs out of the keepers playing.
7. Will Gidman (Gloucestershire)
Although Gloucestershire's Will Gidman bats at six for his county, he didn't have a great time out with the bat against Glamorgan.
However, he was outstanding with the ball, finishing with nine wickets in the match.
Opening the bowling and taking three for 34 to restrict the opposition to 145 in the first innings was followed up with an even better effort in the second. He rattled through the middle order, taking six for 50 to send Glamorgan reeling to 146 all out before the game was called a draw.
8. Matt Dunn (Surrey)
This might be a controversial selection, but Surrey youngster Matt Dunn had an impressive outing.
Playing in only his ninth ever first-class game, the 21-year-old picked up five for 60 in the first innings with a wicket tally including the likes of Alastair Cook and Graham Napier.
He might not be the most popular choice, but for a young lad with little experience to bowl so well when the experienced guys aren't performing does take something quite special.
9. Ryan Sidebottom (Yorkshire)
This might be starting to sound a little bit like a Yorkshire-happy team, but it's hard to ignore the players of a side who won by an innings despite rain interruptions.
At 36 years old, Ryan Sidebottom is still going strong and still leads the Yorkshire attack with aplomb.
He picked up seven wickets in Yorkshire's mauling of Northants, with four for 16 and three for 34 in the first and second innings respectively.
10. Dean Cosker (Glamorgan)
Veteran spinner Dean Cosker took a five-for for Glamorgan to help restrict Gloucestershire to 231 in their first innings.
A load of weather interruptions meant that there was no second innings, but any spinner who manages a five-for early in the season deserves a pat on the back.
11. Jack Brooks (Yorkshire)
Jack Brooks took eight wickets for Yorkshire to help them to their win, taking five for 36 and three for 76 as Northants were bowled out for 94 and 245. It took Brooks' tally to 12 wickets this season at an average of 19.91.
Aside from his fascinating bowling, Brooks also had a fascinating choice of headgear.
Who cares for looking foolish when you're bowling like a beast?