Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Clarke Figures In Century Stand As Duckett Stars For Lions At Cheltenham

Clarke Figures In Century Stand As Duckett Stars For Lions At Cheltenham

Joe Clarke figured in a century partnership with Ben Duckett who hit a stunning unbeaten century on his England Lions debut in a seven–wicket win against Pakistan A at Cheltenham.

Worcestershire batsman Clarke and Duckett, who last week had been on opposite sides in the Specsavers County Championship match at Northampton, put on 117 in 16.3 overs for the third wicket.

Clarke, who scored his maiden Lions half century during the winter 50 over series with Pakistan A in the UAE, made 35 off 43 balls with four fours before he was third out at 190.

It was on the same ground just over a year ago that a double century for Worcestershire Seconds propelled Clarke into the senior side at New Road – and he has not looked back.

But the star of the show today was Duckett and the 21-year-old left hander sealed the victory in the 37th over by sweeping his fourth six to end unbeaten on 163 from 104 balls, having also hit 24 fours.

He came in with the Lions on 5-1 in reply to Pakistan’s 244 after losing their captain Dawid Malan.

Duckett shared in partnerships of 68 with Daniel Bell-Drummond and an unbroken 59 with Sam Billings in addition to his fine stand with Clarke.

The platform was laid by a fine fightback from the Lions bowlers, who shared the last six Pakistan wickets for 53 after powerful opener Sharjeel Khan had put them on course for a much higher total as a Festival crowd of around 3,000 broiled in the sun.

Surrey’s Tom Curran led the way with four for 39, and there was also an encouraging performance from Mark Wood as he continues his comeback after ankle surgery, earning figures of 10-1-27-3.

Pakistan had won the opening fixture in the six-match Tri-Series against Sri Lanka A in Cheltenham on Monday, so the Lions have the chance to go top of the table at the halfway stage when they face the Sri Lankans in a day-night match in Northampton on Thursday – a home fixture for Duckett.

Worcestershire all-rounder Brett D'Oliviera is also part of the Lions squad but was not selected for their opening fixture.