Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Clarke Hits Career Best 135 As Worcs Edge Into First Innings Lead

Clarke Hits Career Best 135 As Worcs Edge Into First Innings Lead

Joe Clarke scored a career best 135 as Worcestershire moved into a first innings lead on day three of the Specsavers County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

The England Lions player helped Worcestershire reach 394-9 in the 97th over – just six runs short of a fifth batting point – when sleet stopped play 20 minutes before the scheduled lunch internal.

Ben Cox, Matt Henry and Jack Shantry all made useful contributions with the bat during the morning session as the County edged past Gloucestershire's first innings total of 380 all out.

Worcestershire resumed on 297-5 with Clarke on 103 and Cox 59 and there was a bizarre start to the day.

Kieran Noema-Barnett bowled the first delivery to Cox whose bat broke into two when playing a defensive stroke.

Clarke on 106 was dropped in the covers off Noema-Barnett and the new ball was immediately taken when due with the total 310-5 after 80 overs.

As with the Worcestershire bowlers yesterday morning, the new ball brought a stream of wickets.

Cox, after making a fine 69 from 132 balls with 11 fours, was caught behind off Liam Norwell to end a stand of 155 in 42 overs with Clarke.

In the next over Worcestershire vice-captain Joe Leach shouldered arms to the first ball he received from David Payne and was bowled for nought.

Ed Barnard (9) then edged Norwell to second slip to leave Worcestershire on 331-8.

Clarke decided to go onto the attack and picked up four boundaries in the space of five deliveries from Josh Shaw to take the score past 350.

He was well supported by Henry and the pair added 39 for the ninth wicket before Clarke's fine knock eventually ended.

He was bowled by Norwell after striking 17 fours in his 175 ball knock.

Further resistance came from Henry and number eleven Shantry and they added an unbroken 24 before the elements intervened. Henry was then unbeaten on 26 and Shantry 12.