Ashes 2019: Brilliant Rory Burns defies Australia with magical maiden century at Edgbaston as England impress with the bat on Day Two

2 Aug

Rory Burns celebrated a maiden Test century as he defied Australia’s bowlers for an entire day to hand England the advantage on day two of the Ashes at Edgbaston.

Burns rebuffed the tourists for six and a half hours and faced 282 balls for his unbeaten 125, an old-fashioned opener’s innings boasting the flinty resolve England have been crying out for since Sir Alastair Cook’s retirement almost a year ago.

Rory Burns celebrates his century at Edgbaston
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Australia allowed him one obvious reprieve, failing to refer an lbw shout that would have ended his stay at 21, but nothing should detract from the deep reserves character he leaned on to see his side to 267 for four – just 17 behind.

Two cheap dismissals against Ireland last week had lowered Burns’ average to 22.28 in seven matches, raising fresh questions over his credentials, but on his biggest stage yet the 28-year-old proved his mettle.

The left-hander does not have a pretty technique but then again neither does Steve Smith, whose brilliant 144 rescued Australia 24 hours earlier, and the pair have been easily the standout performers on a surface that has confounded more fluent strikers.

Burns’ idiosyncrasies have not prevented him racking up more than 8,000 first-class runs and at the 15th attempt he showed he could bring his best game to the highest level.

Peter Siddle celebrates taking Joe Root’s wicket after his scare on 9
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Stands of 132 alongside Joe Root (57) and 73 with Ben Stokes (38no) left England in a strong position to press for a decisive first-innings lead.

England resumed on 10 without loss having safely negotiated two tense overs on the first evening, but Australia quickly removed Jason Roy.

Less than three weeks ago Roy hurled in the throw that secured the country’s historic World Cup win, a campaign that relied heavily on his dominant top-order performances. Yet his future as a Test opener, a role he has barely attempted at county level, is unclear.

This was just his second attempt, his knock of 72 against Ireland coming at number three, but he was ill at ease against James Pattinson, twice foreshadowing his own demise with outside edges that did not go to hand.

Burns celebrates with his England teammates back in the pavilion
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The first flew between third slip and gully for four, his only runs of the day, and the second hit the turf just in front of the cordon. It was third time lucky for Pattinson though, with Smith holding a low catch at second slip.

Burns had a point of his own to prove and received an early sharpener when he ducked into a Pat Cummins bouncer that rattled his helmet. Unfazed he settled into his work, gritting his teeth and adding 36 in the morning session.

There were five boundaries, four times using Cummins’ pace against him, but the most important job was chewing up the minutes and taking the hardness of the ball.

He had one notable let-off from Nathan Lyon, who spun one into the pads only to see a sound appeal waved away. Captain Tim Paine had the best seat in the house behind the stumps but decided not to refer a ball that would have knocked over leg.

Root, back at number three for this series at his own request, had an even luckier moment on nine. He was given out caught behind to a glorious delivery from Pattinson, with a woody noise seemingly sealing his fate. Root was convinced he had not made contact and when he called for DRS replays revealed the true story – the off stump had been grazed at 88mph without dislodging the bail.

The lunch break proved a turning point for the skipper, who scraped together 11 from 57 balls before the interval then helped himself to 46 from the same number afterwards.

Burns had his moments in the afternoon, picking up a sequence of boundaries off thick edges towards third man, but his 110-ball fifty underpinned the first hundred stand of the match.

Australia were just about out of ideas when Peter Siddle plucked a wicket from nowhere, halting his follow through to take a one-handed return catch from Root’s straight drive.

Having taken one for 99 in the session the tourists persuaded the umpires the ball had lost shape, securing a replacement that immediately began offering more swing. Buoyed by the change Pattinson and Cummins both struck, Joe Denly lbw for 18 and Jos Buttler nicking off for five.

That left England 194 for four but Burns was now deep in a psychological battle. A crisp drive past mid-off had taken him into the 90s but he was scoreless from his next 18 balls and it took him just under an hour to finally reach his landmark.

He ended a nervy wait on 99 by dabbing to mid-on and dashing through for a single, hurried up by Pattinson’s direct hit. The third umpire was asked to check the run-out but Burns knew he was safe, celebrating in heartfelt fashion.

Stokes proved a handy foil in the closing stages but the occasion belonged to Burns, who fended off the last ball of the day just as he had the first.

England name unchanged squad for three-match Test series against West Indies

10 Dec

England have named an unchanged Test squad for next month’s tour of the West Indies.

The selectors have kept faith with the 16 men who delivered a historic 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka, meaning the uncapped Joe Denly keeps his place and Ollie Pope misses out.

England have gone with the same formula that thrived in Sri Lanka

Denly was not required during the 3-0 win but will once again travel as batting cover for the three Tests, ahead of Pope and his overlooked county colleague Jason Roy.

Rory Burns and Ben Foakes, both of whom impressed on their Test bows in Sri Lanka, retain their place for the winter tour.

Ben Foakes was awarded Man of the Series against Sri Lanka

Wicketkeeper Foakes was a late addition in Sri Lanka after an injury to Jonny Bairstow and deservedly takes his place as a first-choice pick after collecting man-of-the-series honours at the first time of asking.

Tom Curran and David Willey return to the one-day squad for the five-match series as the countdown to next year’s World Cup continues.

England's tour of the West Indies

15-16 January: warm-up match vs WI Board XI, Barbados

17-18 January: warm-up match vs WI Board XI, Barbados

23-27 January: 1st Test, Kensington Oval, Barbados

31 January-4 February: 2nd Test, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua

9-13 February: 3rd Test, Sarren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

17 February: ODI warm-up match vs Vice Chancellor’s XI, Barbados

20 February: 1st ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

22 February: 2nd ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

25 February: 3rd ODI, National Stadium, Grenada

27 February: 4th ODI, National Stadium, Grenada

2 March: 5th ODI, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

5 March: 1st T20, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia

8 March: 2nd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis

10 March: 3rd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis

Mark Wood is included ahead of Olly Stone, who made his bow in Sri Lanka, while Sam Curran and Liam Dawsom are also left out.

The victory in Sri Lanka was England’s first overseas whitewash since 1963, and success in the Caribbean would be a similarly rare feat.

Ollie Pope has been left out

England have won just one Test series in the West Indies since 1968 – in 2004 when Michael Vaughan was captain.

The first Test against the West Indies begins on January 23 and you can listen to all the action from the entire series live on talkSPORT

England new boy Rory Burns seeks help from legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara for tour of Sri Lanka

1 Nov

England hopeful Rory Burns will draw on the experience of close friend Kumar Sangakkara as he bids to open the batting in Sri Lanka.

Burns, 28, earned his first Test call-up after captaining Surrey to their first County Championship title since 2002.

And as England prepare for life after Alastair Cook, a Test debut surely beckons in Galle next week.

Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly, the alternative options, continued to struggle in the first warm-up match while Burns hit a composed 47.

Burns impressed against the Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo

His international opportunity has been a long time coming – the opener notched over 1000 first-class runs in 2018 for the fifth consecutive season.

England’s top order struggles have grown with the retirement of long-standing opener Cook and many see Burns as his natural successor.

But the Surrey man knows the unorthodoxy of Sri Lanka presents a totally different challenge to the County Championship, and to prepare, he picked the brains of someone who knows Sri Lankan cricket better than anybody.

Legendary batsman Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s leading Test run scorer of all time, spent three years alongside Burns at Surrey, giving the Englishman an invaluable source of expertise.

Burns and Sangakkara are good mates

“Being able to learn off him and get to know him as a person on and off the park – that’s probably had a massive influence on me personally. I’ve taken up whisky drinking!” Burns joked.

“I think you’d be silly not to pick up the phone to Kumar and pick up a bit of knowledge there. He’s done a fair bit of batting in Sri Lanka.

“It’s being branded as trial by spin. Dean Elgar just got back from there and said he didn’t face a ball of seam. So I think it’s pretty evident what the challenges will be.”

The 28-year-old has big shoes to fill by replacing England’s highest Test run scorer of all time in Cook,  but he insists there are no nerves as his long-awaited chance approaches.

He added: “I’m not nervous, I think it’s really exciting. There’s a couple of other youngsters in the group which will help and I know quite a lot of the guys in that side.”

The conditions in Sri Lanka are completely foreign to Burns

Burns has his own ideas, too. The Epsom boy bewilders with an unusual approach to batting and admits you wouldn’t see his technique coached to youngsters.

He continued: “There are a few nuances to my style and it’s certainly my own. I don’t think you would coach many kids to bat like that.

“I’ve seen it work and tried to develop it over a period of time so there’s a lot of self belief and trust in my technique. I sort of enjoy the here say in a weird way.”

And the unique style has a personality to match. Burns is well-known for his eccentric hairstyles – the Becks of the County Championship, if you will.

“There’s been a beaver period, there’s been a top-knot – there’s been some certain stuff going on underneath the cap,” he added.

“I try and be a unique bloke rather than just run of the mill.”

talkSPORT will bring you exclusive radio coverage of England’s tour of Sri Lanka. More details here.

 

England call up Rory Burns, Joe Denly and Olly Stone to Test squad for the first time

21 Sep

Uncapped batsmen Rory Burns and Joe Denly have been named in England’s Test squad to tour Sri Lanka, alongside fellow rookie Olly Stone.

Alastair Cook’s retirement after 161 Tests left Ed Smith’s selection panel with a top-order conundrum which has been solved by a long-awaited summons for Surrey captain Burns and an international return for 32-year-old Denly.

Burns has impressed for Surrey

Unlike Burns, the Kent veteran has played white-ball international cricket before, but has not been seen at the highest level since a Twenty20 in Dubai in February 2010.

Keaton Jennings, Cook’s last opening partner, retains his place in a 16-man squad despite a poor summer and senior seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will both travel, scotching suggestions one or both could be rested for the three-match series.

Warwickshire seamer Stone, having already earned his place in the 50-over squad, continues his rapid ascent by taking his place alongside the established duo.

Stone will add pace to England’s bowling attack

In the spin department, which is likely to be a major factor on the turning decks at Galle, Kandy and Colombo, Somerset’s 20-year-old Jack Leach returns alongside established pair Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

Leach played his only Test in Christchurch before injury struck and could get the chance to play a big role.

Twenty-year-old Surrey prospect Ollie Pope also gets the nod, edging the more experienced James Vince for the final batting slot.

Denly could solve England’s top order struggles

Referring to the three new faces, Smith said: “Rory Burns, who has led Surrey to the Championship title, has been the most consistent run-scorer in county cricket in recent seasons and fully deserves his elevation to the Test squad. Rory is the leading championship run-scorer this season with 1,319 at an average of 69.

“Joe Denly has had an excellent season with bat and ball and has matured into one of the leading players in county cricket. He has that all-round touch of class that can help at the highest level.

“Olly Stone is an exciting talent who bowls with pace and skill. His 37 wickets in the county championship have come at an average of 12.27 and a strike rate of 22.22.”

Ben Stokes was also included in the squad. The all-rounder was earlier this week charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board and will face a disciplinary hearing in December over an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year.

Stokes denied a charge of affray and was cleared following a seven-day trial at Bristol Crown Court last month.