England v Australia: Sam Billings looked world class – James Anderson

Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester Date: 13 September Time: 13:00 BST
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary and in-play clips on the BBC Sport website. Highlights on BBC Two at 23:20 BST.

Sam Billings looked like he “belonged on this stage” as he made his maiden England century against Australia, says England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson.

Billings’ 118 off 110 balls helped England recover from 57-4 in the first match of the one-day series, but the hosts fell to a 19-run defeat at Emirates Old Trafford.

“As he got the pace of the pitch he looked world class,” Anderson told BBC Sport. “In a pressure situation, he really took his opportunity.”

Kent batsman Billings, 29, has played only 19 ODIs since making his debut in 2015, often used as a stop-gap when others have been absent.

Against a high-quality Australia attack and on a tricky pitch, he paced his innings well and came close to taking England to victory.

With all-rounder Ben Stokes missing the series, Billings has taken his place at five.

“I’ve threatened to get a score of substance for quite a while and it’s just nice to kick on and get a big score and stake a claim,” Billings said.

“That’s all I can do. I don’t think, however many runs I get, that I’ll keep that spot.”

The second game of the three-match series takes place on Sunday at 13:00 BST.

Australia batsman Steve Smith is fit to play after missing the opening game. He passed a second concussion test following a blow to the head in the nets on Friday.

Billings missed the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign with a shoulder injury, which he says was the “toughest time of his career”, but has featured more this summer as England have rested players.

Before Friday’s game, he had made three half-centuries and his previous highest score of 67 came this summer against Ireland.

Billings said in the past he had put too much pressure on himself to get a big score.

“For me, that was the difference yesterday. 10 off 30 balls – I probably would have done something stupid and chip up in the air,” he said.

“Maybe a little more experience, a little more confidence in my ability at this level I can soak up that pressure.

“I definitely wasn’t at my most fluent but instead of trying to force the issue and giving away an opportunity I managed to kick on.”

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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