Saturday, March 4th, 2017

Clarke One Of Three Players In Double Figures As Lions Lose Again

Clarke One Of Three Players In Double Figures As Lions Lose Again

Joe Clarke was one of only three England Lions players to reach double figures as they were well beaten by Sri Lanka A via the Duckworth Lewis method in the second ODI in Dambulla today.

The Worcestershire batsman came in at number six and made 26 off 42 balls with one boundary.

He shared in a fifth wicket stand of 66 in 15 overs with Lions batting hero Liam Livingstone before being bowled by slow left armer Milinda Siriwardana at 167-5.

The Lions were dismissed for 217 in 42.5 overs with Livingstone defying severe cramp in both calves to score 94.

But Sri Lanka openers Danusha Gunathilaka and Kusal Perera raced to 201-0 in just 28.4overs before bad light and rain halted play.

It means Sri Lanka are 2-0 ahead in the five match series.

Livingstone was last out, brilliantly caught at deep mid wicket as he aimed to reach three figures with a six, to end a disappointing Lions batting performance in which only two other players – Ben Duckett (59) and Clarke – reached double figures.

Livingstone was unable to take the field when the Sri Lankans launched their reply as he continued to receive treatment.

He had been the Lions’ most economical bowler in the opening one-dayer on Thursday, taking one for 28 in 10 overs of tidy off-spin, and that all-round ability led to a change in the balance of the team, with Daniel Bell-Drummond playing as an extra specialist batsman in place of Toby Roland-Jones.

The Cumbrian limped out for the sixth over and came on to bowl the 12th. But it was clear from the first ball that he was struggling.

Danusha Gunathilaka launched the second for six, and Livingstone returned to the pavilion after completing the over.

The Lions will be desperate to get him fit for the third match of the series in Kurunegala on Monday, as they need to win to keep the series alive.

Gunathilaka, a 25-year-old left-hander who has 16 ODI caps for Sri Lanka and featured against England last summer, ended unbeaten on 121 from 88 balls with 12 fours and six sixes – and they only needed 17 runs with 22 overs remaining when the weather intervened.

The Lions had found batting a far trickier business after Keaton Jennings won his fourth consecutive toss as captain and chose to bat.

Jennings, who had top-scored in the first game with 64, chipped a catch to mid-wicket in the third over. Bell-Drummond was trapped lbw in the fourth, but Livingstone joined Duckett in a counter-attacking third wicket stand of 81 in 10 overs.

Duckett reached 50 from only 38 balls with his ninth four and also hit a six. But after he was athletically caught at mid-off by Lahiru Madushanka off the international veteran Thisara Perera, the Lions were unable to recapture that momentum.

Tom Alsop holed out to long on, although Clarke and Livingstone then played sensibly to add 66 for the fifth wicket.

But Clarke, immediately after driving his first boundary off the 40th ball he had faced, was bowled by Sri Lanka’s captain Milinda Siriwardana giving himself room to cut.

Ben Foakes, Craig Overton, James Fuller and Ollie Rayner formed a procession of lbw victims as they struggled against a variety of spinners plus Madushanka’s skiddy medium pace, with Livingstone unable to do much more than take slow singles at the other end.

He did launch one six over long-off to move into the nineties, but that was a last act of defiance.