LONDON: England opening batsman Rory Burns will miss the Test series in Sri Lanka in March after surgery on ruptured ligaments in his left ankle.

Burns left the ongoing tour of South Africa after hurting himself playing soccer at training on the eve of the second Test in Cape Town.

He had surgery in London on Monday and is expected to be out of action for around four months, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Tuesday.

“England opening batsman Rory Burns has undergone successful surgery on ruptured ligaments in his left ankle,” the ECB said in a statement. “The Surrey captain is expected to be out of action for up to four months. He will miss England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka in March.”

Burns was one of England’s form batsmen with two half-centuries and a century in his last five innings before the freakish injury ruled him out of the South Africa series after just one Test. His injury led England to ban football as a warm-up drill. He’s expected to return to playing in English domestic cricket sometime in April.

Burns’ injury was the second relatively serious injury to an England cricketer playing football prior to a game in just over a year.

Jonny Bairstow was injured and missed several matches during a tour of Sri Lanka in October 2018.

Zak Crawley took Burns’ place for the Test in Cape Town, but his absence in Sri Lanka could mean a recall for Keaton Jennings who has performed well in Asia in the past.

England also lost young fast bowler Pat Brown to injury for the limited-overs games in South Africa. Brown sustained a partial stress fracture in his lower back while with Melbourne Stars.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2020