joe clarke completed back to back hundreds for worcestershire on the second day of the specsavers county championship match with essex at New Road.
the 21-year-old followed up his 157 against surrey at the kia oval by holding the worcestershire innings together as he reached three figures off 161 balls with 14 fours.
the england selectors meet on tuesday to name the side for the first test against pakistan at lord’s and clarke has enhanced his hopes of earning a first call-up with a masterful display against the division one champions.
he reached his century by turning jamie porter on the leg side for two.
clarke, who has played for england under-19s and the lions, was eventually lbw to ravi bopara for 105 – ninth out at 237 – and left the middle to a standing ovation.
worcestershire were eventually dismissed for 238 – a first innings lead of 61.
then, when essex replied, josh tongue (2), steve magoffin and joe leach got amongst the wickets as essex reached 143-4 by the close at five past seven.
a trio of essex batsman were all bowled after not playing a shot.
worcestershire’s opening batsman daryl mitchell gave clarke crucial support with a determined 41.
but the champions hauled themselves back into the game after being bowled out for 177 yesterday.
worcestershire resumed on 47-0 in reply to essex’s 177 all out but lost two wickets inside three overs.
opener brett d’oliveira (37) cut a delivery from peter siddle and was caught by ravi bopara at point.
tom fell (5) got off the mark by turning siddle off his legs for four but then pushed forward to jamie porter and lost his off stump at 56-2.
siddle gave mitchell and new batsman clarke a searching examination during an impressive six over spell.
but the third wicket pair dug in to ensure there was no major collapse and then flourished during a stand of 86 in 21 overs.
clarke reeled off a series of impressive drives and looked full of confidence after his performance at the kia oval.
mitchell also started to accelerate as he cut simon harmer and bopara for boundaries.
clarke went to his half century off 75 balls with eight fours before essex struck three times in quick succession.
mitchell (41) was leg before to bopara, travis head (5) was adjudged caught behind by james foster off harmer and ben cox (0) shouldered arms and was bowled by the impressive siddle.
ed barnard (2) was caught at second slip off porter in the second over after lunch and ben twohig (8) was leg before to sam cook.
clark went on the offensive with two pulls and a cover drive which all produced boundaries in a porter over.
leach (8) was bowled by harmer but clarke went to three figures with two runs off porter before bopara wrapped up the innings.
clarke (105) was leg before and magoffin (0) also departed to the former england all-rounder.
tongue made the initial breakthrough when essex batted again as chopra shouldered arms and was bowled with 58 on the board.
cook was in impressive form and brought up his half century with his ninth boundary off 82 balls.
but after making 66 he left alone a ball from magoffin which swung back in and was bowled.
westley then departed in similar fashion and he lifted up his bat and saw the off stump knocked back by leach.
tongue came back for a final burst and in the penultimate over ravi bopara (13) edged through to cox.