James Vince finally added substance to his undoubted style as a battling 83 underpinned England’s promising start to the Ashes in Brisbane.
Vince was a controversial selection for this tour but steadied the tourists after the early departure of Alastair Cook on the opening morning of the series against Australia as he compiled a Test-best knock.
Here, we assess the key talking points from the 26-year-old’s day at the Gabba.
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BLOSSOMING PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN OPENER AND NO.3
Vince and Mark Stoneman barely knew each other before this tour but were paired off into shared quarters rather than individual hotel rooms in Perth, and their understanding has blossomed. A century stand in the first warm-up was followed by a 125-run partnership in the Ashes opener that was the backbone of England’s 196 for four. Stoneman observed earlier this month: “That’s one of the beauties of touring. You get to see a different side of people, and get to unwind and relax together.”
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE FOR VINCE
Vince was first given England Lions recognition towards the end of 2011 but 11 of the 16-man squad that toured Asia that winter played for the senior side ahead of Vince, who was finally given his chance in May 2015 – in a rained off one-day international against Ireland. He has made only a handful of appearances in each format but his latest innings could be the one that leads to greater involvement within the international set-up.
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher, while at Hampshire on a consultancy basis, first brought Vince to national attention when he remarked the then teenager reminded him of Michael Vaughan. It is a tag that has stuck ever since and seemed to weigh heavily when he faltered in his first opportunity with England last year, but some elegant stroke play at the Gabba – in particular several dreamy cover drives – brought those comparisons flooding back as he vindicated his return to the set-up.
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