Cricket Expert & Columnist
Scott Borthwick nearing England Test recall, reckons Bob Willis
Durham man has three Championship tons this season
Last Updated: 31/05/16 11:56am
Scott Borthwick is 'on the cusp' of the England Test team after a sustained string of scores for Durham in first-class cricket, says Bob Willis.
Borthwick hit an unbeaten 188 at Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship on Monday, his third ton of the season, and has surpassed 1,000 runs in each of the past three campaigns.
The left-hander made his Test debut as a leg-spinner during the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia but now plays as a frontline batsman for his county at No 3, the position at which Nick Compton is struggling for runs with England.
"He has had a very good return over the last four Championship seasons, including this one, and the pitches in Durham aren't like the Test match pitch so you have to work hard for your runs," Sky Sports expert Willis said of Borthwick on The Verdict.
"He is a whole lot better than when he had that slightly embarrassing debut - he has shown good character to come back from that and is right on the cusp of getting into the side."
Borthwick will have to wait until at least the Pakistan series later this summer for a Test recall, with England sticking with the same 12-man squad for the third and final Investec Test against Sri Lanka.
Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball has been the odd man out during the first two games, watching from the sidelines as Alastair Cook's charges secured thumping wins at Headingley and Emirates Riverside to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.
England coach Trevor Bayliss told Sky Sports that he would "be interested in having a look at Ball at some stage" but Willis has urged the selectors to pick an unchanged XI for the clash at Lord's from Thursday, June 9.
"Not for me," said Willis, when asked whether England should make any changes. "Steve Finn is having a struggle at the minute but it would be harsh to drop him, particularly on his home ground.
"This is Test match cricket so England should play their best XI, plus it would be sacrilege in my mind to deny Stuart Broad and James Anderson the opportunity to rack up more wickets on their tally."
Anderson reached 451 Test scalps with eight wickets during England's second-Test win in Durham, just days after taking 10 in the victory at Headingley, and Willis says the 33-year-old could eclipse fellow seamer Glenn McGrath's haul of 563 before he retires.
"I've got Jimmy overtaking McGrath in three years' time so he should get out there [at Lord's] and get another 10-for!" added Willis. "Becoming the leading wicket taker among seamers bowlers is something for him to aim for."
Watch the third Investec Test between England and Sri Lanka from 10am on Thursday, June 9 on Sky Sports 2.