Durham - Somerset Preview: Rodgers leads side up north for season opener

Durham take on Somerset in the opening game of the new 2016 County season at the Emirates Riverside on Sunday.

Durham - Somerset Preview: Rodgers leads side up north for season opener
Durham get their campaign underway on Sunday (Photo: Durham CCC)

Durham will begin the new season on Sunday as they are set to take on Somerset in the Specsavers County Championship at the Emirates Riverside.

Marcus Trescothick will no longer be leading Somerset in the longer format of the game this season, with former Australian opener Chris Rodgers taking over the captaincy.

The new rule for the toss will take place for the first time this weekend, and it will give the visiting captain the chance to bowl first, but a toss will take place if that option is rejected.

Riversiders have better recent record

Somerset only managed to record four wins from their 16 games last season, and that is something Rodgers will be looking to amend this campaign.

However, Durham won one game in the second half of the County Championship competition, but they still managed to finish fourth after they started the season so brightly.

Paul Collingwood’s side won both of their Championship games against Somerset last season, and they will be looking to emulate the result in the season opener.

They have an impeccable record against Somerset at the Riverside, having won their last 13 home games against them, including a 120-run victory last season.

Durham's three-day match with Durham MCCU was hampered with rain (Photo: Andrew McDonnell)
Durham's three-day match with Durham MCCU was hampered with rain (Photo: Andrew McDonnell)

Lack of match practice in pre-season

Rain played a big part in Durham’s three-day friendly with Durham MCCU, which ended in a draw, but both the batsmen and bowlers gained some sort of match practice.

Michael Richardson scored an unbeaten century, while three other batsmen managed to get past their half-century mark.

However, when it came to the ball, both the weather and the students frustrated the Riversiders as they only managed to get 67 overs under their belts.

Strong Squad for Durham in opener

A fast start is needed for both sides, but Jon Lewis' side will be looking to replicate what they achieved at the start of the County Championship last season.

Paul Collingwood, who has been away with England through the winter, is the only addition to the side that played in the three-day friendly through the week.

England international Mark Wood is still struggling with an injury and will sit out the opening game of the season, but Brydon Carse has earned a spot in the squad after an impressive off-season with Durham.

Durham Squad: Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Scott Borthwick, Paul Collingwood (c), Michael Richardson (wk), Jack Burnham, Gordon Muchall, Ryan Pringle, Usman Arshad, Brydon Carse, Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions

Somerset Squad: Marcus Trescothick, Tom Abell, Chris Rodgers (c), James Hildreth, Jim Allenby, Roelof van der Merwe, Peter Trego, Ryan Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, Josh Davey, Ben Green