Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Clarke Hits Half Century But Lions Facing Uphill Battle

Joe Clarke hit a half century and top-scored for England Lions who came off second best on the opening day of the second ‘Test’ with West Indies ‘A’ at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

The Worcestershire batsman fought a virtual lone hand with the bat once openers Keaton Jennings (28) and Haseeb Hameed (23) had been dismissed after putting on 56.

Clarke again batted at number four and came in at 56-2 to survive a hat-trick ball after Hameed and Nick Gubbins fell to successive deliveries from Jomel Warrican.

He reached his 50 off 98 deliveries and was last out with the total on 145 from the last ball of the 57th over after the Lions had been put into bat.

In reply West Indies ‘A’ reached 159-4 by the close.

Twenty-one-year-old Clarke, who had scored 1 and 31 in the first ‘Test’, faced 115 balls and struck seven boundaries.

He was eventually bowled – trying to work the ball for a single to retain the strike – by slow left armer Warrican who was again the chief thorn in the Lions side.

Warrican, 25, followed up his 7-33 in the second innings of the first ‘Test’ by returning even better figures of 8-34 from 20 overs.

Only captain Jennings, Hameed and Clarke reached double figures.

The Lions were going fine at 56 without loss soon after drinks on a pitch that again offered sharp turn from the start.

But they then lost six wickets for 29 either side of the lunch break, and that became eight for 50 before Clarke finally found some reasonable support from Mason Crane in a ninth-wicket stand of 38 – the second highest of the innings.

The Windies responded with an opening stand of 72 inside 13 overs between John Campbell and their captain Kieran Powell.

And although Jack Leach dismissed Campbell and Jermaine Blackwood in consecutive overs, Powell’s 59 helped his team into a 14 run lead by the close with six wickets remaining.

The Lions made one change from the team beaten in Trelawny, with Lancashire wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Davies coming in for Ben Foakes.