Following Day One of Nottinghamshire’s County Championship clash with Somerset that ended with a lower-order partnership handing the Green and Golds the ascendancy, Joe Clarke has praised the strength in depth of the batting line-up.
“After the partnership we had at the end of the day between Moores and Patterson-White, we can look back and say we’re just ahead,” said Clarke, who made 59 himself.
“Our strength is in our depth. When you know that you have lads that are coming in at six, seven, eight, that can contribute with the bat, it’s always really pleasing,” smiled Clarke.
“The top order are the ones who need to show that they can get the big scores, but as we’ve shown throughout the whole season, the lads lower down the order can contribute.”
Clarke himself hit his sixth half-century of the season, and added 53 with Green and Gold debutant Sam Northeast, a player whose quality Clarke knows only too well.
“I’ve been playing both against and with Sam for a number of years now, so I know the quality he brings to our batting line-up, and he’s a great addition for the next four games.
“When we got together, I really thought that we were both in and we could possibly go on to have a really match-defining partnership. Although that wasn’t to be, it was still a great start, both for him to his Notts career and for us as a team today.”
The third-wicket stand between Clarke and Northeast came on the pair’s first outing in a red-ball match for more than six weeks, following a steady recent diet of limited-overs cricket.
However, Clarke is clear that the shift in mentality and technique is one that the squad has been able to handle comfortably.
“It’s not like we’re new to it, even if the schedule has been a bit different this year, so everyone in the dressing room prides themselves on being able to adapt to that change, and I’m one of those myself,” he said.
“It’s very enjoyable to be back playing the longer format after a couple of months playing the white-ball stuff. Over the years of changing, you do get used to it, and it’s now something that you just have to deal with.
“If you can get back to your basics, which is what all of us have been doing the last few days, it becomes simpler to make the switch between the two.”
The signs of Clarke’s ability to switch between the two with ease were clear, as his knock in Taunton came with all the fluency of a white-ball innings, sprinkled with the grit required to survive some testing bowling.
He is assured, yet not overconfident, that the Green and Golds can build upon the foundations laid during a strong opening day.
“It’s a good wicket, but the conditions for the bowlers were there all day, so we’re happy with where we are,” he reflected.
"It’s been a good day today, but there’s a lot of cricket still to be played.”