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Burns is keeping feet on ground as he aims to build with England

 

Solid start: Rory Burns has been consistent since England debut
Solid start: Rory Burns has been consistent since England debut

By David Charlesworth

Rory Burns remains grounded despite cementing his spot at the top of England's order with some defiant displays during The Ashes.

Only the talismanic pair of Australia's Steve Smith and England's Ben Stokes amassed more runs than the Surrey captain's 390 across the riveting five-Test series.

A maiden international century in the Edgbaston opener silenced his detractors, but with an overall average of 29.25 after 12 Tests and an onerous winter schedule about to start, Burns is taking nothing for granted.

Burns will open the batting alongside new partner Dom Sibley against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui this week when the first of eight Tests over the next few months begins.

He said: "You're never truly settled because there's always another Test coming. New Zealand have got a fine bowling attack to try and expose any weaknesses.

"It's a summer to build on for me but there were a few scores I left out there, a few that could have been bigger than they were. So there's a lot to keep improving on and that's what I'll try and do.

"I'm very much focused on what I can do. The process of opening the batting, it's natural you'll get some low scores.

"There's some handy bowlers with a brand-new pill you've got to face, so whether that allows you time, I don't know. But at the same point it is, 'Can I be consistent in my process?' knowing that if I get that right I should have some pretty big numbers."

All 12 of the left-hander's Test appearances have come in little more than a year, and he admitted: "Since I've come into the side it's seemed pretty hectic. I'm managing to rack up the Test appearances quite quickly."

Burns opened alongside Sibley when the Warwickshire batsman made his second-team and first-class debuts for Surrey and is relishing the prospect of being at the other end when he makes his Test bow, as expected, against the Black Caps on Thursday.

Burns said: "I'm very proud of him. We've batted (together) a fair few times so hopefully we can dovetail quite nicely."

The pair are likely to offer England a stable foundation as they look to move away from a policy of selecting openers for their attacking flair.

However, when it was suggested Sibley is a beneficiary of England's new regime, Burns pointed out his record in the County Championship this year, when he was the only Division One batsman to register over 1,000 runs.

Burns added: "Sibbo was the stand-out batter in the country, regardless of position."

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