England opener Burns to miss rest of South Africa tour

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - South Africa v England - First Test - Supersport Park, Centurion, South Africa - December 29, 2019 England's Rory Burns looks dejected as he walks off after being caught by South Africa's Kagiso Rabada off the bowling of Anrich Nortje REUTERS/Rogan Ward

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - England’s ‘cursed’ tour of South Africa continued on Thursday after opening batsman Rory Burns was ruled out for the remainder of the four-test series with an ankle injury sustained while playing football.

The loss of Burns for the second test at Newlands starting on Friday is a major blow for the tourists, who have also had 17 players and support staff laid low with flu during the series.

“Opening batsman Rory Burns has sustained ligament damage to his left ankle,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

“He has been ruled out of the remainder of the South Africa test series and will return home for further assessment and treatment at the earliest convenience.”

Burns, 29, top-scored for England with 84 in the second innings of their 107-run defeat in the first test and looked assured on a difficult wicket.

He was injured playing a game of football as a warm-up to training on Thursday. England could also be without Jofra Archer in Cape Town as the fast bowler is nursing an elbow injury.

It is not the first time England have lost a key player during their warm-up games of football. Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow was injured in Sri Lanka in 2018, which prompted England’s director of cricket Ashley Giles to suggest the games should be stopped.

Zak Crawley is likely to replace Burns in the side and should feature alongside fellow opener Dom Sibley, who has been ill in the build-up to the second test but is expected to be fit to play.

Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar