PRETORIA (Reuters) – England’s top order are determined to end the test series against South Africa on a high after failing to give their team solid starts so far, number three Nick Compton said on Wednesday.
The touring side hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series heading into the fourth and final match starting at Centurion Park on Friday. “For me and a lot of the other guys, there’s a lot to play for. It’s a test match for England,” Compton told reporters on Wednesday.
“You’re playing in South Africa, it’s another great experience being at a ground many of us haven’t played at before and there’s a lot of personal pride. “And obviously from a team point of view, make no bones about it, this team wants to keep moving forwards.” The 32-year-old Compton, who was born in South Africa, returned to the test arena after a two-year absence at the start of the tour and has contributed 220 runs at an average of 36.66. Although England have flourished in the middle order, however, with Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow all contributing big scores, openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales have struggled. “As a top-order batter you’ve never got enough runs and there’s always continual improvement, so that’s something I’m looking to put right in this test match,” Compton added.
“I feel like I have contributed, but we’d always like to contribute more.” Compton opened the batting when he first played for England in 2012-2013 but has been coming in at number three in this series. “Batting at three or opening is an important place to play because you really set the tone and set up the innings. I think from a positional point of view it has responsibility,” he said. “I haven’t played as much as some of the guys but I like to engender those sort of feelings, be someone the guys can bat around and depend on. Someone who is consistent in his approach. “It’s not something you can force, respect from your teammates comes over time and through performance and it’s one of my goals to earn that respect,” he said. England are scheduled to play home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this year before tours of Bangladesh and India.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond)