Robinson hails run-machine Robson

Sam Robson raises his fifth century of the winter, which has put him in line for Test selection in the view of Mark Robinson

Sam Robson has put himself into contention for England’s Test team, according to Mark Robinson, who has seen the majority of his five hundreds this winter.

Robson has opted to play for England rather than Australia, the country of his birth, and is now closer than ever to getting that chance.

The 24-year-old Middlesex right-hander shot to prominence last summer with 1,180 first-class runs at an average of 47.2, earning him selection for the England Performance Programme and England Lions.

He hit twin tons for the EPP Down Under and three for the Lions versus Sri Lanka A, two in the ‘Test’ rubber including an unbeaten 147 today to seal a draw watched by England Batting Coach Graham Gooch and a 1-0 series win.

England Lions Head Coach Robinson, asked if Robson is in line for Test selection, replied: “He has to be.”

Robinson, who is also Sussex’s coach, added: “He’s got this great ability; even in the nets he plays every ball like it’s the most important ball he’s ever had in his life. It’s a great quality.

“You watch him in the middle. We’ve seen it first-hand in the county season. He doesn’t change when he’s batting, his tempo stays very consistent and he plays every single ball as if it’s very, very important, which is a great attribute. He’s had a a great innings for us.”

That “great innings” saw Robson, who had 18 overnight, bat throughout the fourth and final day at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium for his second score over 140 in three knocks.

He shared an unbroken stand of 150 with Varun Chopra, who was batting at seven due to illness yesterday, to take the Lions to 273 for five, 395 ahead, when the teams shook hands.

Chopra made his second fifty of the match, the first having led a recovery from 78 for three that skipper Chris Woakes and Scott Borthwick improved on with 137 and 99 respectively.

Robinson said: “It’s happened all tour. Every time we’ve had a little bit of a wobble or we’ve looked in difficulty, somebody’s stepped up to put their hat in the ring to get us out of trouble, and this game was no different.

“We were 120 for four in that first innings and something a little bit worse – I think we were 200 for five – and the game’s in the balance. The captain on this occasion, he stepped up with Scott Borthwick and got us into safe waters in that first innings. Once you get 460, you’re in a good position.”

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