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County Championship team of the week: Rory Burns, Morne Morkel and Ben Coad impress

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Rory Burns boosted his credentials to fill the void left by Alistair Cook's retirement
Image: Rory Burns boosted his credentials to fill the void left by Alastair Cook's retirement

The County Championship relegation and promotion battles are hotting up. Check out this round's team of the week before the next set of matches start on Monday...

1. Rory Burns (Surrey - captain)

Burns' captain's knock - his fourth century of the season - in Surrey's first innings set the platform for the all-important victory over Warwickshire which sealed their first County Championship title since 2002.

Burns pushed his claims for inclusion on England's winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies with 66 in the second innings to cement his place as the top run-scorer in domestic first-class cricket.

He shared 111 with Mark Stoneman (59) for the first wicket to put them in control at New Road, and in the process improved his season run tally to 1,241 at an average of 68.94.

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Surrey skipper Burns' interview with David Fulton was interrupted by his team-mates

2. Murali Vijay (Essex)

Vijay added to his first-innings half-century against Nottinghamshire with a ton off 173 balls as dethroned champions Essex sealed a comprehensive eight-wicket win.

The India opener became the first Essex player to score a century on his debut since Hashim Amla in 2009.

3. Tom Westley (Essex)

Vijay was ably supported at the crease by Westley, who reached his first ton this season in the second innings off 193 deliveries.

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Westley and his partner amassed 204 for the second wicket to seal Essex's fifth win of the campaign, propelling them up to third place in Division One.

4. Gary Ballance (Yorkshire)

Ballance formed a crucial partnership with Tom Kohler-Cadmore on day two against Lancashire when his side looked in dire straits at 27-3 in their second innings.

But Ballance dug deep, hitting 14 fours on his way to reaching 85 before left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj had him trapped lbw.

5. Ollie Pope (Surrey - wicketkeeper)

A contentious choice for wicketkeeper in this XI due to a shortage of standout options among those in possession of the gloves this week.

The right-handed batsman was not on keeping duties, of course, with Ben Foakes in the side, but Pope showed strength of character after being dropped just three innings into his Test career.

Pope (48 & 49) fell just short of adding to his three first-class half centuries, but the 20-year-old demonstrated his abundance of potential alongside Foakes at the crease before a grubber from Dillon Pennington splattered his stumps.

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Surrey's director of cricket Alec Stewart says young players have played a key part in their success

6. Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Yorkshire)

Kohler-Cadmore only made his county debut last season, but the man nicknamed 'Pepsi' had plenty of pop as he held his nerve to produce 105 not out in Yorkshire's first innings against Lancashire - his second successive Championship century.

The 24-year-old is improving all the time as a red-ball player and his stand of 148 for the fourth wicket alongside Ballance in the second innings turned the tide in Yorkshire's favour.

7. Darren Stevens (Kent)

Paul Collingwood would have been a sentimental choice, falling agonisingly short of a half century in the week he announced he will be bringing an end to a glittering career spanning 22 years.

But Stevens was another player who rolled back the years with a brilliant all-round display to help Kent seal a three-wicket win over Middlesex. The 42-year-old took 44-4 with the ball and top-scored with a crucial 64 when his side were 82-7 in their first innings.

The three-time Kent Player of the Year signed a new one-year contract extension earlier this week, and with promotion still on the cards, he celebrated in style.

during day one of the  Specsavers County Championship: Division Two match between Glamorgan and Kent at Sophia Gardens on May 4, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales.
Image: Darren Stevens' 64 at Lord's was only his second half-century of the summer

8. Morne Morkel (Surrey)

Morkel preserved his remarkable record of having won every Championship game he has played for the county as Surrey turned a first-innings deficit in their favour to seal the title against Worcestershire.

The South African took five wickets in a spell to limit the target to 272 and it was fitting that he was back at the crease to hit the winning runs and spark wild scenes of celebration from the away dressing room at New Road.

Morne Morkel has taken over 50 Championship wickets for Surrey in nine appearances
Image: Morne Morkel has taken over 50 wickets for Surrey in nine appearances

9. Keith Barker (Warwickshire)

Barker took eight wickets in the match as Warwickshire completed a win by an innings and 104 runs over Leicestershire.

The Bears tightened their grip on top spot in Division Two, with Chris Woakes' 73 not out helping them secure a fifth batting point early on day three, but it was the brilliance of Barker (5-40) which put the result beyond doubt and moved Warwickshire 12 points clear of second-placed Kent with two rounds of fixtures to go.

Keith Barker took eight wickets in the match as Warwickshire won
Image: Keith Barker took eight wickets in the match as Warwickshire won

10. Chris Rushworth (Durham)

Rushworth claimed 4-49 for match figures of 12-100 as Sussex suffered a major setback in their hopes of gaining promotion from Division Two.

In the first innings, the seam bowler had Chris Jordan caught before bowling Jofra Archer the next ball to leave him on a hat-trick before lunch on his way to transforming Durham's fortunes with 8-51.

Rushworth passed 400 wickets for the county and it was announced this week he will be rewarded for his endeavours with a testimonial in 2019.

11. Ben Coad (Yorkshire)

Coad completed a five-wicket haul in Lancashire's second innings to help Yorkshire seal a vital victory and leapfrog their rivals down the bottom of Division One.

Yorkshire moved out of the relegation zone with one game to play and Coad accounted for a clatter of wickets, taking two in three balls to shift the balance in Yorkshire's favour.

He ended with figures of 5-24 as Yorkshire moved 14 points clear of the Red Rose in their quest to retain their top-flight status.

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