Ballance’s Rise from the Ashes: England’s Number Three
Gary Ballance has been a regular name amongst the England test elite, and after making his debut at the final Ashes test in Australia 2014, he has now nailed down the number three spot as his own.
Since that day in Sydney he has been involved in 10 matches, and has already surpassed the impressive milestone of 1000 test runs.
Ballance was the third fastest English player ever to achieve this feat, and reached the target in just 17 innings. He was only behind Leonard Hutton and Herbert Sutcliffe, who did it in 16 and 12 innings respectively.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Ballance initially represented the Zimbabweans as a youngster at various age levels. He migrated to England in 2006, and following a small stint with Derbyshire Cricket Club, has played his county cricket with Yorkshire since 2008.
After obtaining his eligibility, the 25 year-old was given his cap to play for England on the 3rd January 2014 against Australia.
This had been a torrid series for the tourists, failing to register a win down-under, so it was a tough initiation for Ballance.
He made 18 and 7 runs respectively at number five, but it would not be long before Ballance established himself at the crease.
After being moved to his preferred position of number three, the 25 year-old scored a century on his home debut against Sri Lanka at Lord’s in June, before really turning the screw against the Indians in July.
He became only the third England player of all time to score tons in his first two tests at Lord’s after a knock of 110 against India.
Ballance went on to hit two more big centuries in the series, including a dominant 156 at the Ageas Bowl in the third test.
Consistency is certainly Ballance’s best policy after hitting at least a half century in each of his last nine test matches, playing like an England veteran, not someone who has been in the set-up for just over a year.
He boasts an average of 67.93, and he’ll be hoping that he can keep this up as England face the West Indies in Bridgetown on Friday.
The tourists are 1-0 up in the Caribbean after a nine wicket victory at St. Georges, and will be looking to seal the deal as they head into the final match of the series.
By Matthew Tilbury, image credit ECB.