Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Clarke Hits 87 In Warm-Up To Opening ‘test’ For England Lions

Joe Clarke hit 87 for England Lions on the final day of the three-day warm-up fixture with a Jamaica X1 at Sabina Park.

The Worcestershire batsman came in at number five and struck 14 fours in his 115 ball knock spanning three hours.

It was an ideal tonic for Clarke ahead of the Lions opening four-day ‘Test’ against West Indies ‘A’ beginning on Sunday.

He came in at 59-3 and shared in stands of 56 with Dan Lawrence (35) and 76 with Ben Foakes (37).

Clarke’s innings grew in importance as the Lions lower order struggled against Jamaica’s 28-year-old off-spinner Jamie Merchant, who ended with five wickets.

They were comfortably placed at 191-5 but the last five Lions second innings wickets fell for 39, four of them to Merchant, to leave the Jamaicans sniffing a victory as they chased 258.

Clarke was last out with the total on 230.

Saqib Mahmood and Toby Roland-Jones shared the new ball with Jamie Porter judged ready for Sunday’s first “Test” after his impressive first innings performance, and George Garton suffering from a side injury.

But it was the change bowlers of Paul Coughlin and Jack Leach who shared the wickets as the Jamaicans closed on 131-4.

Coughlin had encouraging figures of 2-10 from eight overs, while Leach claimed 2-31 from nine.

“It was a good three days for us,” said the Lions coach Andy Flower. “In almost all cases, the batters have had two innings each, and the bowlers have had at least two decent spells.”