Eng­land put their foot in it yet again

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - CRICKET By RORY DOL­LARD

ENG­LAND’S trou­bled tour of South Africa hit a new low on the eve of the sec­ond Test in Cape Town, with bats­man Rory Burns ruled out for the re­main­der of the se­ries with an an­kle in­jury sus­tained while play­ing foot­ball.

Burns was tak­ing part in a kick­about ahead of the team’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion at New­lands when he landed awk­wardly on his left an­kle af­ter tak­ing a shot on goal. He im­me­di­ately limped out of the game in vis­i­ble pain and was sent for scans at a lo­cal hospi­tal.

The re­sults showed the opener had dam­aged lig­a­ments and would not be fit to play any fur­ther part in the four-match se­ries.

Eng­land are also brac­ing them­selves for bad news about key pace­man Jofra Archer, who has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain in his right el­bow.

Archer has only bowled a hand­ful of gen­tle de­liv­er­ies over the past two days of net prac­tice and it would be a ma­jor sur­prise to see him take the field at New­lands this morn­ing with such lit­tle prepara­tory work be­hind him.

Eng­land ar­rived from Jo­han­nes­burg on New Year’s Eve hop­ing their bad luck was be­hind them af­ter their first two weeks in South Africa were be­set by an ill­ness that swept through the camp, lay­ing low 11 play­ers and six sup­port staff.

But, hav­ing lost the first Test by 107 runs, they have started 2020 in the same dis­ap­point­ing man­ner they ended 2019.

Burns’ ab­sence, which is ex­pected to see Zak Craw­ley handed his sec­ond Test cap as stand-in, robs Eng­land of their most de­pend­able top-or­der bats­man of the past year and one of their best close catch­ers.

Jonny Bairstow missed the Galle Test against Sri Lanka last win­ter af­ter suf­fer­ing an an­kle in­jury of his own while play­ing foot­ball.

He no longer joins in with the daily work­out and nei­ther does Joe Denly, who was also in­jured by a tackle from team-mate Owais Shah sev­eral years ago.

Yes­ter­day, squad mem­bers Ol­lie Pope and Lan­cashire’s Matt Parkinson were seen tus­sling for pos­ses­sion of the ball, with the lat­ter’s spikes leav­ing their mark on his team-mate’s leg.

Burns’ is­sue was not as the re­sult of a tackle, with cap­tain Joe Root the clos­est man to him and any con­tact be­tween the two al­most non-ex­is­tent.

Ash­ley Giles, di­rec­tor of men’s cricket at the ECB, will surely take a dim view of de­vel­op­ments, hav­ing pre­vi­ously banned foot­ball dur­ing his time in charge of Warwickshi­re and Lan­cashire.

“It’s been one of those tours I’m afraid,” said cap­tain Joe Root.

“It’s been frus­trat­ing through­out, but these things hap­pen in sport.

“You’ve got to man­age them as best we can, and we are try­ing to make sure that if any­one does pick up ill­ness or in­jury then they are fit and ready to go as soon as pos­si­ble.”

He also con­firmed Mark Wood re­mained un­avail­able with the side strain he ar­rived on tour with and that Jack Leach had not bowled enough fol­low­ing his brush with ill­ness to be con­sid­ered.

“They have not man­aged to pull up as well as we would have liked, and that is a frus­tra­tion,” added Root.

Rory Burns has been ruled out for the rest of the Test se­ries

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