Jen­nings could be key man on Sri Lanka tour

ENG­LAND BAT­TING

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - CRICKET By CHRIS OSTICK @MENS­ports

LANCASHIRE’S Keaton Jen­nings has been head­hunted to open the bat­ting for Eng­land on their forth­com­ing tour to Sri Lanka, ac­cord­ing to Gra­ham Onions.

The Red Rose opener hasn’t played Test cricket since the trip to the West Indies last Fe­bru­ary.

He had a steady sea­son for the county last year, help­ing them to the Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship Sec­ond Di­vi­sion ti­tle and pro­mo­tion.

Jen­nings’ Test ca­reer, how­ever, stalled as he was found out against fast bowl­ing.

How­ever, he is seen as one of the best play­ers of spin in the coun­try.

And with the Lankan wick­ets ex­pected to turn, the for­mer Durham play­ers has been reg­u­larly touted as a re­place­ment for the in­jured Rory Burns for the two Test series, which runs from March 19-31.

Jen­nings has al­ready been to In­dia this win­ter – which is where he scored his maiden Test cen­tury in Mumbai on his de­but in 2016.

And he has shown he can play on the sub-con­ti­nent, hav­ing scored an un­beaten 146 against Sri Lanka on Eng­land’s last tour there in Novem­ber 2018.

He heads to Aus­tralia next month as vice cap­tain of the Eng­land Lions tour, and Lancashire team­mate Onions be­lieves it has al­ways been in the se­lec­tors’ minds to take Jen­nings to Sri Lanka.

He said: “I think he is a fine player, he has proven in the sub-con­ti­nent he can play.

“He has just been to In­dia and he is off to Aus­tralia now for the Lions tour.

“I think he has been head­hunted to play that role in Sri Lanka.

“He re­verse sweeps very well, I wouldn’t be sur­prised if the pitches are very, very dry and flat there.

“Eng­land played well the last time they went there, but I think they will go down the Keaton Jen­nings route.”

Jen­nings is one of three Lancashire play­ers in the Eng­land Lions squad, with fast bowl­ing duo Richard Glee­son and Saqib Mah­mood set to join him for three four-day fix­tures against a Cricket Aus­tralia XI, New South Wales XI and a flood­lit match against Aus­tralia ‘A’ at the MCG. Glee­son is also in­cluded for the white ball fix­tures, with Mah­mood due to be with the main Eng­land squad dur­ing that time for the ODI series in South Africa.

Gra­ham Onions on Keaton Jen­nings

Keaton Jen­nings in ac­tion against the West Indies last year

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