Last Updated: 18/11/19 1:16pm
Dom Sibley (left) and Rory Burns batted together in England’s warm-up match against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei
Rory Burns is relishing the prospect of opening alongside former Surrey team-mate Dom Sibley when England begin their two-Test series against New Zealand on Wednesday night.
Sibley, who left Surrey to join Warwickshire two years ago, is widely expected to make his Test debut against the Black Caps at Tauranga, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10pm.
The 24-year-old forced his way into the England set-up after passing 1,000 runs in the County Championship last season and Burns – who opened with Sibley at both second team and first-class level – is in no doubt that he has what it takes to succeed.
New Zealand vs England
November 20, 2019, 9:00pm
“Sibbo was the standout batter in the country regardless of position,” said Burns.
“He showed all his attributes, his determination, his character to bat for days at a time, to put up the weight of runs he did and to bat the number of balls he did in tricky conditions you get in county cricket.
“He’s earned his spot. I’m very proud of him to have got to where he’s got to.
Joe Root and Chris Silverwood believe England are in a strong position heading into the Test series against New Zealand after a week of competitive warm-up matches
“We’ve batted together a fair few times so hopefully we can dovetail quite nicely.”
Burns has established himself at the top of the order during the past year, scoring his maiden international century in the Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston.
Only Steve Smith and Ben Stokes exceeded Burns’ tally of 390 runs during the series – but the left-hander is nevertheless taking nothing for granted.
Sibley was the leading run-scorer in County Championship Division One last season
“You’re never truly settled because there’s always another Test coming,” he added. “New Zealand have got a fine bowling attack to try and expose any weaknesses in your game.
“It’s a summer to build on for me but at the end of it 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. The process of opening the batting, it’s natural you’ll get some low scores.
Sir Andrew Strauss says the way England opener Rory Burns dealt with Australia’s attack in The Ashes bodes well for his future
“But at the same point it is ‘can I be consistent in my process?’ – knowing if I get that right I should have some pretty big numbers.”
Watch day one of the first Test between New Zealand and England, at Bay Oval in Tauranga, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 9pm on Wednesday.