Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Clarke: Main Focus On Helping County To Try And Seal Victory Over Champions

Clarke: Main Focus On Helping County To Try And Seal Victory Over Champions

centurion joe clarke said his “main focus” is on trying to help worcestershire claim victory in the current specsavers county championship division one encounter with essex at New Road.

clarke scored a superb 105 to follow on from his 157 versus surrey at the kia oval to earn the county a first innings lead of 61 to which essex had replied with 143-4 by stumps at the end of day two.

the 21-year-old is being strongly touted for a first england call-up when the squad for the first test against pakistan at lord’s beginning on may 24 is announced on tuesday.

but clarke has his sights on trying to help skipper joe leach’s side get over the winning line against champions essex.

he said: “i’ve had no contact with anyone at all (from england). my main focus is this game now and trying to get us into a position where we can win the game and, come second time around, get a knock that can win us the game and get us going this year.

“we’ve played against some really good attacks this year, coming up from division two, so it’s nice after a poor start for me personally to score these hundreds and show i can do it in this division.

“every year you set yourself goals and one of mine is to win as many games as i can for worcestershire and score as many runs as i can.

“early season i was lacking time in the middle.

“we had played on some tough wickets so to get some batting time last week at the oval and get into a good rhythm was good.

“i’ve been hitting it nicely in the nets and it was good to spend some time out there today and contribute to the team.

“this hundred was in tougher conditions to last week. last week was a really good wicket to bat on and at stages today we were under the cosh.

“to get a hundred against a really good attack, that did well last season and so far this season, is really pleasing.”

clarke received good support from daryl mitchell (41) in a third wicket stand of 86 but was also full of praise for josh tongue who provided strong defiance batting at number 10 as he completed his century.

he said: “myself and mitch (daryl mitchell) played well this morning and we got ourselves into a position where we were really on top.

“the essex boys bowled well and pulled it back but to get a lead on that wicket was nice. we had a bad half hour before lunch but to get a lead was good.

“the wicket has done a little bit all the way. it has bounced from a length but it was one of those where you had to be positive and back your defence and if a ball came you could hit, try and make the most of it.

“josh tongue helped me through to the hundred and it is nice to be able to trust him as a batter, to stick around and to contribute to the score as well.

“he has done the nightwatchman role a few times this year and looked pretty good against some attacks on some spicy wickets. he did a really good job.

“at the end of day two, it’s about 80-4 in terms of the overall situation of the game which is good. we are in a strong position. tomorrow morning, hopefully we can get a few wickets so it can put us on top.

“the wicket has done a bit throughout even with an older ball.

“there are balls in it for the bowlers and hopefully there will be a bit of momentum for us in the morning if we can take a couple of wickets and hopefully we don’t have to chase too many.”