• England Lions 3m

    Sam Curran smashes hundred for England Lions

    Sam Curran starred with bat and ball as England Lions beat an Antigua XI.

    Sam Northeast has urged England Lions to make a fresh start in their forthcoming one-day series against West Indies A – and Sam Curran has already set the perfect example.


    Curran, one of a handful of new arrivals for the short white-ball section of the trip, struck a freewheeling century in the Lions’ warm-up match against an Antigua XI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium – the scene of the last of the three heavy defeats suffered in the four-day series.

    And the Surrey all-rounder than formed a formidable new-ball pair with Northamptonshire’s Richard Gleeson, as the Lions skittled their hosts for 82 to earn a 246-run win.

    Curran took three for 24 from six overs, Gleeson claimed three for 15, and two more of the new arrivals also impressed with the ball – with Derbyshire all-rounder Matt Critchley taking two for nine, and his fellow Lancastrian leg-spinner Matt Parkinson also claiming a wicket.

    The game may have ended in a romp, but things were looking grim for the Lions when they were reduced to 80 for five.

    Then Curran joined Alex Davies, the Lancashire wicketkeeper who opened the batting with Nick Gubbins, to put on 141 for the sixth wicket. Davies fell for an important 78, but Toby Roland-Jones provided a spectacular finish to the innings with 39 not out from 17 balls, including four sixes.

    Northeast had been one of the victims of the Lions’ earlier struggles, but he is 'excited' to be able to turn his attentions to the one-day series, after a whirlwind few days. 

    The 28-year-old finalised a move to Hampshire at the end of February, and was then fast tracked onto a flight to Antigua for the final "Test", following an injury to Essex's Dan Lawrence.

    He was thrown into the side just 48 hours after arriving in the Caribbean, and could only produce scores of 3 and 6, as he suffered from the effects of jet-lag.

    Fully acclimatised, Northeast hopes to take the opportunity given to him when the series begins on Tuesday and said: "It has been a busy few days. Flying out early probably wasn't the ideal preparation but it is good to be out here and play some cricket. 

    "It has been a long cold winter back at home and I am looking forward to the one-day series getting started. 

    "We want to put the Test series behind us and we put it to bed after the final match and now our focus is fully on what is ahead. 

    "It is a great opportunity for me personally, but we also have a really good squad of players here and obviously some new faces have freshened things up again, so it has reenergised the whole group." 

    Having travelled to Antigua with Kent in January last year for the Super 50 Cricket Festival, Northeast has the knowledge and experience that could be useful to his peers. 

    "I have been offering a few tips to the players when they have asked," he added. "But the coaching staff and squad have a wealth of knowledge as well. Many of them have played here over the years, so I am sure they are fully aware of what to expect.

    "It has been a trial by spin most of the tour already, and I would imagine that will continue, so we will prepare accordingly."

    The final "Test" was played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, but the Lions now head to the Coolidge Cricket Ground for the three day/night one-day matches against West Indies A. 

    Northeast believes it is a brilliant ground for limited-overs cricket and concluded: "It is a great place to play one-day cricket. It is smaller than the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and the pitch is a bit flatter, so it does set up well for white-ball matches.

    "With it being in the hustle and bustle of the City Centre as well, there is always a good atmosphere with the crowds coming in during the evening and enjoying the cricket under lights. 

    "It is usually a good batting wicket as well, so hopefully we can play some entertaining and high quality cricket and get the series off to a good start." 

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