Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Three Catches For Keeper Clarke As Lions Fightback Against Board X1

Three Catches For Keeper Clarke As Lions Fightback Against Board X1

Joe Clarke picked up three catches keeping wicket for England Lions on day one of the three-day warm-up clash with the Sri Lanka Board President's X1.

The Worcestershire player had recovered sufficiently from a wrist problem to take his place behind the stumps in place of Ben Foakes who has a back problem.

Clarke held onto chances offered by opener and top scorer Ron Chandraguptha (48), skipper Nipun Karunanayake (2) and Hashan Prabath (8).

The President's X1 were dismissed for 153 in 53.3 overs and the Lions reached 168-4 from 39 overs in reply with Clarke yet to bat.

The game is not first class as Lions coach Andy Flower wants to give all members of the squad time in the middle before the two four-day games versus Sri Lanka 'A'.

Tom Westley and Liam Livingstone hit unbeaten half centuries to steer the Lions out of a sticky situation.

The Lions slipped to 69-4 with openers Keaton Jennings and Haseeb Hameed both going cheaply.

But Westley and Livingstone responded with an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 99 in 24 overs, meaning the Lions will resume on the second day 15 runs ahead.

Westley, who made an important 84 for the Lions in the first-class match against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi before Christmas, reached an unbeaten 65 from 108 balls with 12 boundaries.

Livingstone, who signed an extended contract with Lancashire just before the Lions left for Sri Lanka, will resume on 61 from 75 balls after reaching his half century with a six in addition to hitting seven fours.

Tom Helm had claimed the best figures after the home team chose to bat first, although the wickets were shared around as all seven of the specialist bowlers in the Lions squad had a decent spell.

Tom Curran shared the new ball with Toby Roland-Jones and took a wicket in each of his first two overs to reduce the Board XI to 9-2.

Helm, who was fast-tracked into the Lions squad from the Pace Programme in December after impressing in the training camp in Dubai, ended with three for 18 from 7.3 overs.

Sam Curran and the spinners Ollie Rayner and Jack Leach claimed one wicket apiece, and there were two for Leach’s Somerset team-mate Craig Overton.