Preview: Warwickshire v Durham, Specsavers County Championship

Warwickshire will look to cement their place at the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division One when they face Durham at Edgbaston tomorrow.

The Bears moved to the top of the table after last week's thrilling victory, clinched in the final session of yet another rain-affected match, over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

But Durham were simultaneously beating early-season form-team Lancashire, so both sides will go into the game at Edgbaston in confident mood.

Warwickshire are showing encouraging signs with both bat and ball. They have four players averaging over 50 with the bat (Jonathan Trott 92.20, Ian Bell 63.50, Chris Woakes 61.00 and Varun Chopra 42.17) this season while the bowling unit showed its collective strength to dismiss Nottinghamshire briskly before time ran out last Wednesday.

No-one is in better form than all-rounder Keith Barker who, in this season's championship, has an average of 47.80 with the bat and 20.40 with the ball.

Durham know plenty about Barker, of course, with the left-hander having a remarkable all-round record against them. In championship cricket against the northern county, Barker has scored 327 runs at an average of 40.87 and taken 49 wickets at 14.12 apiece. Those figures include two centuries, one haul of ten wickets in a match and eight hauls of four or more in an innings.

Durham have not enjoyed facing Barker, to say the least - but not that the 29-year-old will be taking anything at all for granted over the next four days.

"I've done okay against Durham but that doesn't mean anything," he said. "I would never ever turn up to any game just expecting to take wickets. They will be practicing hard and preparing to face me just like they do all the bowlers and will be determined make it very difficult.

"They are a very good team which has just beaten Lancashire and we know we will have to play really well to beat them."

Warwickshire will select from a squad led by Ian Bell who is set to return as captain after missing the Nottinghamshire game with a hamstring injury. With Boyd Rankin ruled out following a back spasm, Olly Hannon-Dalby joins the squad while batsman Andy Umeed is also in the 14-strong group.

Warwickshire squad: I.Bell (Captain), T.Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper), K.Barker, V.Chopra, R.Clarke, L.Evans, S.Hain, O.Hannon-Dalby, J.Patel, J.Trott, A.Umeed, I.Westwood, C.Woakes, C.Wright

Brian Halford

Brian is Warwickshire's Club Journalist and has reported on the Bears since 2000.