Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Clarke Top Scores But Has Mixed Feelings After Lions Triumph

Clarke Top Scores But Has Mixed Feelings After Lions Triumph

Worcestershire batsman Joe Clarke had mixed feelings about his batting despite top-scoring for England Lions as they completed a clean sweep against the UAE in Dubai.

Clarke justified his position at number four in the Lions batting order by making 42, and sharing a crucial stand of 65 with Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone after they had been reduced to 45 for three.

But was annoyed at his failure to capitalise with a really big score, especially in front of the National Selector James Whitaker.

He said: "I gave myself a chance to go big. If you get to 40 as a batter you should really be going on, especially with 20 overs left in the innings.

"And, after we’d lost Liam, to lose me as well puts pressure on the lads coming in so I was cross with myself, but credit to the way Ben Foakes and Sammy Curran played. They put us in a position where we could win the game.”

Clarke still earned praise from the Lions coach Andy Flower for his skill in repelling the UAE bowlers when the ball was nipping around – as Nick Gubbins, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tom Alsop all fell cheaply early on.

The 20-year-old said: “It was a difficult situation, similar to the one I found myself in for the second game.

“It’s not as easy batting first here as you’d think, with the dew and the conditions early on so we were two down and a bit of pressure on, so I looked to give myself a chance.”

Clarke was given the opportunity to keep wicket after Ben Foakes had been behind the stumps for the opening two games.

He pulled off a fine one-handed catch to dismiss opener Chirag Suri off the bowling of Sam Curran.

Clarke said: "To get a diving catch early felt great, and I was very happy with the way it went.”

He now hopes to retain his place for the four-day match against Afghanistan which starts in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday – and to secure selection for the tour of Sri Lanka in February and March.