Since 2010, the annual Champion County match between the previous season’s County Championship Division One winners and Marylebone Cricket Club has taken place in Abu Dhabi.
After claiming their 32nd Championship last season – their second successive title – Yorkshire will look to add another victory when they face off against MCC from tomorrow, having claimed a nine-wicket win last year in the annual four-day match.
Here, ecb.co.uk takes a look back at the previous curtain-raisers held in United Arab Emirates over the years.
After claiming their second consecutive county title in comprehensive fashion, Durham lived up to their label as the team to beat in English domestic cricket with a dominant 311-run victory over MCC at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, who finished with match figures of 8-84, was a constant threat with the pink ball as MCC were no match for the champions. Borthwick capped off his match-winning performance by trapping Steve Kirby lbw to wrap up victory in 45 minutes on the final day.
With the likes of Rahul Dravid and Chris Rogers in their side, MCC were victorious in the second edition of the Champion County match under the lights in Abu Dhabi.
Pacemen Kirby, who claimed a five-wicket haul in the first innings, and Afghanistan’s Hamid Hassan ripped through Nottinghamshire’s batting line-up before Dravid’s 106, including 21 fours, helped MCC make 357.
With Nottinghamshire’s top-four batsmen making just a total of 18 runs in their second innings, the 2010 county champions struggled and fell way short of their target despite a 111-run stand between Ali Brown and Chris Read.
In the third Champion County contest, Ian Blackwell’s first-innings century as well as Naved-ul-Hasan’s 3-31 bowling Lancashire for 199 all out, looked to have put MCC on course for their second victory in Abu Dhabi.
But a batting collapse saw MCC lose their last eight second-innings wickets for just 28 runs with left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan doing the damage with four scalps, before eventually being bowled out for 84.
Opener Paul Horton’s half-century led the Red Rose on their way as they sealed a six-wicket win with four-and-a-half sessions to spare.
MCC head of cricket John Stephenson chose a relatively strong side on paper but after posting a disappointing first-innings score of 130, with only three batsmen reaching double figures, they were never in the hunt.
On the third day, which turned out to be the final day, MCC put up more of a fight in their second innings. But Joe Denly’s 146 was not enough as Wright and Rikki Clarke, who finished with 4-33, bowled out MCC for 402, sealing an innings victory.
India legend Virender Sehwag would put on a batting clinic as the MCC won their first Champion County match since 2011.
Having made just five runs in the first innings, Sehwag hit 18 fours and a six en route to 109, and aided by Samit Patel would condemn Durham to defeat.
A century from Mark Stoneman, with Gordon Muchall also registering a half-ton, set MCC a testing target of 224 on the final day. Despite spinner Borthwick collecting two early wickets, Sehwag and Patel, who made an unbeaten 48, would see MCC home with a six-wicket win.
But Cook would make a total of just eight runs in the match as Yorkshire ran out nine-wicket winners as first-innings centurion Adam Lyth’s 46 not out helped them chase a target of 70.
Adil Rashid was the stand-out player with the ball, picking up two first-innings wickets before claiming four in the second, restricting MCC to 220 before Yorkshire’s batsman saw them home under the floodlights in Abu Dhabi.