Ashes 2013-14: England’s Gary Ballance up for Ashes challenge

Ashes 2013-14: England batsman Gary Ballance insists he will be up for the challenge of facing Australia if selected

By Daniel Jolly
andy flower
England team director Andy Flower Photo: The Sport Review

Gary Ballance insisted that he would be up to the challenge of playing in a maiden Ashes test, after staking his claim against an Australia Chairmans XI.

On a scorching day in Alice Springs, the Yorkshire batsman top scored with 55 as England declared on 212-7, on a very slow pitch and outfield in the heart of the Outback.

At the close of play, the home side reached 16-0 in the 10 overs they faced as Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin failed to trouble their opponents.

With a trio of players – including Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow – competing for the spot vacated after Jonathan Trott was flown home from the tour, Ballance faired the best to steady the innings.

After making just four runs in his previous pair of innings and facing just 18 balls, the 24-year-old was relieved to find some form.

“After a few low scores, you take a bit of time to get used to the situation. But once I’d batted for a few overs I felt comfortable, and it was just like any other innings,” Ballance told BBC Sport.

“It would have been nice to push on and get a hundred, but I’ve given myself a bit of confidence, so if I get the chance then I’ll be ready.”

Bairstow and Stokes also did their chances no harm as they notched 31 and 28 respectively.

Despite a distinct lack of experience on the international stage, Ballance believes he can step up to the challenge.

“It would be a great feeling [to play in Adelaide] but I don’t want to look too far ahead.

“If selected, I think I’ll be ready. The boys are working really hard, and we’re going to be ready for Adelaide.”

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