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Davies resolves to take chance

NatWest Series

Kamran Akmal & Steven Davies

Steven Davies said: "I feel this is now my time. It’s a great chance for me, and I’m really happy with the way things went”

England’s new wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Davies is determined to grasp his first proper shot at international cricket.

Davies made a sparkling 87 at the top of the order yesterday as England won by 24 runs at the Durham Emirates ICG to go 1-0 up in the NatWest Series.

The Surrey wicketkeeper, who has taken the place of Craig Kieswetter, underpinned England’s 274 for six in only his second one-day international - reduced to 41 overs per side.

“The two games I played previously (for England), one was when Matty [Matt Prior] was ill and the other was just a one-off Twenty20.

“But I feel this is now my time. It’s a great chance for me, and I’m really happy with the way things went.”

Davies’ captain Andrew Strauss, with whom he shared an opening stand of 78, was delighted with the newcomer’s performance.

Asked whether his runs might have complicated selection - with Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell still obvious pretenders to batting positions for next year’s World Cup - Strauss said: “There are a lot of things that give me headaches...but one of our guys getting 80 off 60 balls is not one of them.

“It was an outstanding innings. He’s been chomping at the bit to get a chance to play, and has had to wait very patiently. He took his chance with both hands.”

Invited to compare Davies with a fellow left-hander, namely Australia great Adam Gilchrist, Strauss chose instead to contrast.

“I don’t think he plays in quite the same style. He’s a bit more of a timer of the ball than Gilchrist.

“But he’s got shots all round the ground - which is important in one-day cricket - and he seems to equally play seam and spin pretty well.

“It was a great start. He’s obviously got a lot to learn at this level, but he’s taken a big step forward.”

Strauss acknowledges England have made a bold decision to switch wicketkeepers with only a dozen or so one-day internationals before that World Cup campaign.

He said: “It was. But we felt it needed to be done.

“Steve has been in outstanding form for Surrey, and Craig Kieswetter will tell you himself he did not bat as well as he would have liked in the one-day series against Australia and Bangladesh.

“We made a change, and at the moment we’re quite happy with it.”

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis knows that England will take some beating in the remainder of this five-match series - which continues at Headingley Carnegie tomorrow.

“They are playing superb cricket,” he said. “It will take a special performance to beat them, but we looked pretty close. We just need a bit of momentum to go our way.”

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