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Finn and Onions on opposite sides in crucial battle

Finn and Onions on opposite sides in crucial battle

Middlesex and Durham - featuring discarded England bowlers Graham Onions and Steven Finn - are set for a crucial LV= County Championship clash at Lord's, as four-day cricket returns to NW8 from Friday 2 August.

Both teams turn their attention to the title race over the weekend, with Durham lying in third place, a narrow 4 1/2 points ahead of Middlesex in fourth, and having played a game less.

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Victory for either team will keep them in the title hunt, while defeat will leave table-toppers Yorkshire and second-placed Sussex looking a long way off with the end of the summer getting closer.

By coincidence Finn and Onions, who were both left out of the England squad for the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford, will appear on opposite sides at Lord's.

Finn, who played the first Test of the ongoing series at Trent Bridge but has been left out of first the starting XI and now the squad completely, has arguably more to prove than Onions, who has played just one Test since Janaury 2010.

The giant fast bowler has struggled this season to perfect his run up and has been working hard in the nets since being left out for Tim Bresnan for the thumping England win at Lord's.

Onions meanwhile has an unrivalled record bowling at county level over the past few seasons, and is always a handful at the Home of Cricket, where he took a five-wicket haul on Test debut in 2009.

Another player set to feature in the spotlight is the division's leading run getter in 2013, Sam Robson.

The Australian-born opener has been mentioned frequently in numerous post-mortems of his nation's batting woes - but is yet to full declare whether he'll play international cricket for the country of his birth, or his adopted England.

If another Robson century coincides with another abject Australia performance at Old Trafford, then expect to hear his name even more in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Panthers' Friends Life t20 journey has come to an end this summer after Hampshire inflicted a narrow eight-run defeat on them at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday night.

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