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Northamptonshire go in search of history as they travel to New Road on Friday for round three of the Specsavers County Championship.

Having won their opening two matches, a third victory will see Alex Wakely’s side become the first Northamptonshire team to win their first three Championship matches of a season.

The second victory came with a dramatic chase of 326 in 65 overs at Derby with Northants getting up with just a ball to spare. But the chase was set up via a turgid morning’s cricket on day four where Rob Newton, Ben Duckett, Wakely and wicketkeeper Adam Rossington all sent down several overs.

Wakely was quick to defend the decision to set up the game: “Getting the chase in place of course involved some pretty dull and tedious cricket but it was balanced by the entertainment that came in the afternoon.

“We’ve talked about this year trying to force results – you don’t really gain much from drawing games so you’ve got to be prepared to lose. In the past I’ve tried to make us hard to beat and bat sides out of games but I’ve turned around on that now. The side that wins the most games is going to be promoted – it’s simply all about winning.”

Victory at Derby was achieved largely thanks to 98 from Rob Newton and 99 in only 79 balls from Richard Levi. “Both of us couldn’t quite get over the line,” said Levi. “It wasn’t quite my day getting out on 99 but I was just pleased to play a good part in getting us a great win.

“I think we’ve been inconsistent in our Championship cricket over the past two years – and that might have made us look average at times. Sometimes we’ve lost games in just a session here and there, so we’ve tried to focus on cutting that out.

“We know we can play one-day cricket very well, and personally I find the four-day stuff sets me up well for my one-day game because you can still play conventional cricket and expand from there. We have the skill and ability to play both forms well and there’s no reason why we can’t go really well throughout the year.

“My winter was a bit topsy-turvy back home but the cricket I did play I was happy with the way things went, I was hitting the ball well and pleased with the form I’ve carried back to England so it’s great to turn that into a few runs.”

Levi and Northants will hope to carry their form into a history-making third win at Worcester ahead of the Royal London Cup that gets underway on Thursday.

“As a side we’ve now got some momentum but Worcester are a good team so we’ve got to take some more solid cricket down there. But particularly if we bowl like we have done across the two games so far I think we’ll go alright.”


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