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WINTER WATCH: Rawlins continues in fine form with century for England Under-19's

21-Feb-2017

Delray Rawlins continued his stunning batting form on England’s Under-19 tour of India by digging the team out of deep trouble with an unbeaten century on the first day of their second four-day match in Nagpur.

Rawlins, the left-handed allrounder who was born in Bermuda but has progressed through the Sussex Academy, came in with England on 1 for 2 after winning the toss and choosing to bat – and with Punjab seamer Rishab Bhagat on a hat-trick after dismissing Harry Brook and George Bartlett with his first two balls of the match.

“I didn’t know it was a hat-trick – I was in a bit of a rush putting my pads on when George got out,” he admitted. Rawlins survived the rest of Bhagat’s over – but then saw captain Max Holden fall to the second ball of the third over from Khanishk Seth, to leave England on 1 for 3.

Yet by the close of play, they had reached the relative riches of 243 for 5, with Will Jacks unbeaten on 66, his Surrey team-mate Ollie Pope digging in for 42 – and Rawlins on 124 from 254 balls, after batting for virtually the whole day in the fierce Maharashtra heat.

“It was hot, and just before I got to 100 I was struggling a bit and needed water,” said Rawlins, who was England’s leading scorer in the one-day series against India with 275 including a rapid unbeaten 107 in the opening game at the Wankhede Stadium.

This was a very different innings – although he still hit a couple of sixes. “That’s one of the pleasing things,” he said. “I suppose I’ve got a bit of a reputation for big-hitting so I was well-pleased to get my head down, and show I could spend a long time at the wicket.

“They’ve got even more spinners playing in this game because they’ve only gone with two seamers so you had to concentrate hard, defend well, work out your scoring areas and pick the right balls to attack.

“I’ve done a lot of work out here with Mark Ramprakash on making my game really simple, and making sure my basics are nailed down. I’d have taken the runs I scored before we came out, definitely. But now I want to go big tomorrow because we’ve got more work to do – and then hopefully I can also contribute with the ball. After the draw we got in the first game, it would be perfect if we could end the tour with a win.”

Rawlins also praised the Surrey pair of Pope and Jacks. Pope, another instinctively attacking player, faced 111 balls for his 42, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 98 in 36 overs – and maintaining a record of having reached double figures in every innings of the tour, in both the one-day and first-class matches.

“There was a little bit of swing in the morning when Popey came in, but the way he played made it a bit easier for me, “ Rawlins added.

“He soaked up the pressure really well, and it’s a shame he couldn’t go on. But Will Jacks has played a great knock. He didn’t play in the first couple of games so when he did come in it was when we were struggling. But he got 40-odd in one game and he came out today and showed a lot of character, and a lot of skill as well.”

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