Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Joe Returns From Injury To Help Lions Triumph In Warm-Up Clash

Joe Returns From Injury To Help Lions Triumph In Warm-Up Clash

Joe Clarke was part of the England Lions side which defeated the United Arab Emirates in a 50 over warm-up match today.

The Worcestershire wicketkeeper-batsman returned to action for the first time since suffering a quad injury during training after the first T20 match against Pakistan 'A' in the UAE last month.

Clarke looked in good touch with the bat in making 24 off 24 balls as the Lions triumphed by five wickets and with eight overs to spare chasing a 211 target.

The Lions are again taking on Pakistan 'A' this month in five 50 over matches.

Clarke did not keep wicket and, along with Sam Billings, fielded in the outfield with Ben Foakes behind the stumps.

Worcestershire all-rounder Ross Whiteley was not part of the team selected for this match.

But the Lions are likely to make several changes for the second warm-up game against the UAE on Saturday.

Dawid Malan and Liam Plunkett were not considered today because of illness and Stephen Parry and Jake Ball are the other players still waiting for a first taste of action.

James Vince led the Lions to victory – even though he was taking a break from the captaincy.

Vince returned to the ranks to allow Billings some leadership experience, and top-scored with a fluent 88 off 93 balls.

The Hampshire skipper, who is due to resume the captaincy for Saturday’s warm-up game against the UAE, stroked seven fours and launched a free hit over long on for six in only the fifth over of the innings.

He was supported by Daniel Bell-Drummond, who made 28 in an opening stand of 80 in 17 overs, and then Tom Westley in adding a further 72 for the second wicket.

Westley went on to a 55-ball half century to join Vince in bouncing back from a lean T20 series against Pakistan A last month.

Clarke, who batted at number six. then took the Lions to the brink of victory with 24 from as many balls including four fours and a six over extra cover before he was bowled with just five needed for victory by spinner Zaheer Maqsood.

Earlier Liam Dawson and Jamie Overton each took two wickets in a solid bowling display, after Billings had won the toss and chosen to field with a little morning dampness still in the grass.

Toby Roland-Jones, making his first Lions appearance for two years, had taken the first wicket lbw, and ended with one for 21 from seven overs.

Jamie Overton claimed his first wicket in his second over, as Rohit Singh chipped to Clarke at backward point off the leading edge, and Dawson then picked up where he left off in the T20 series with a first spell of 8-1-21-2.

Foakes snaffled Mohammad Usman for an enterprising 34 to give Overton his second success. Westley took a wicket with his off spin, Overton’s twin brother Craig deceived Usman Mushtaq with a slower ball, and Vince claimed a run out with an athletic stop and direct hit from mid wicket as the UAE struggled to 210 for nine.

Tom Curran, who bowled well without luck with the new ball, returned to gain his first wicket in the last over of the innings.