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County Championship – Surrey begin title defence against Essex

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England Test captain Joe Root enjoyed his first knock of the season last week with a half-century and a second-innings century against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

He lines up again in Yorkshire colours this week to face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Stuart Broad had a fairly entertaining tussle with Root in that game, clocking his international team-mate on the helmet first ball. The right-armer is in action again for Notts in his testimonial season against Somerset.

They will have spinner Jack Leach available again, who was left out in favour of a four-pronged seam attack in the comeback win against Kent at Taunton.

As mentioned, champions Surrey have Rory Burns, Ben Foakes and Tom Curran in their squad to face Essex while Ollie Pope will hope to pick up from where he left off against the MCC in Dubai last month with his double century.

In Division Two, Lord’s will have a few international stars gracing its grounds as Middlesex host Lancashire.

James Anderson and Keaton Jennings line-up for the Red Rose while Dawid Malan and one-day skipper Eoin Morgan will hope for some more valuable time in the middle for Middlesex.

At Chester-le-Street, Durham host Sussex, who have Chris Jordan in their ranks.

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