Monday, September 25th, 2017

Clarke: County Will Be Happy With Position After Shortened Opening Day

Joe Clarke believes promotion-chasing Worcestershire will feel content with their position after day one of the Specsavers County Championship match with Durham at New Road on a wicket he says is already showing signs of taking turn.

The England Lions batsman looked in excellent form in making an unbeaten 46 from 46 deliveries with eight fours including three in an over from debutant Durham spinner Liam Trevaskis.

He shared in a third wicket stand of 56 with Brett D’Oliveira, who made a determined 22, in rescuing Worcestershire from 13-2 to 90-3 from 26 overs on a truncated day.

Clarke said: “It was very tough early on for the batters so, where we are now, I think we will be happy with.

“I think we were always going to bat and it is a wicket we hope will turn on the third and fourth day and, with Ashwin as good as bowler as he is, we want to get him in the game as much as we can.

“Batting first was always going to be the way but I don’t think we thought it would do as much as it did.

“The spin is on the slow side but it was the same for the Gloucestershire wicket so hopefully by the third or fourth day it really starts to go but the signs are there.”

Clarke enjoyed the challenge posed by the Durham pace trio of Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions and Mark Wood.

He said: “They have three very good seamers but that’s what you want.

“You want that sort of bowler bowling at you in the challenging areas that they did and it was really tough.

“Hopefully we can put on a decent first innings score and have a crack at them on that wicket.”

Clarke admits to keeping an eye on promotion rivals Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire but said: “The main thing is to look at this game and hopefully we can be on the good side of it.

“To finish as champions would be brilliant but we will take it step by step, day by day.

“It would top off the season if I could get a big score so start again tomorrow and hopefully put us in a good position.”