Zak Crawley is aiming to follow Dom Sibley’s example as he aims to secure his spot in England’s Test side against South Africa.
Crawley – who made his Test debut against New Zealand in Hamilton last year – was called up for the Cape Town match as a late replacement for Rory Burns, who injured his ankle while playing football in training.
The 21-year-old, opening alongside Sibley, scored four and 25 in his two innings respectively, though he took a brilliant catch on day five as Ben Stokes propelled England to a series-levelling victory.
Sibley, meanwhile, was the star in England’s second innings, hitting an unbeaten 133 to put the tourists into a commanding position at Newlands.
Though Crawley acknowledged England have other options at the top of the order, he is hopeful he has done enough to earn a place in the side for the third Test, while the performance of Sibley has provided the youngster with extra motivation.
“I’m taking one game at a time,” Crawley told reporters. “I’m putting all my focus on the Port Elizabeth Test now.
“Hopefully I can get a score there like Sibley did in Cape Town and follow his footsteps and shore up my place in the side. But I’m not looking too far ahead.
“I knew the night before the game that Rory would be out for a number of weeks. So there were the usual nerves. But actually I was a lot better than my debut in Hamilton, so hopefully it’ll be easier next time.”
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Crawley’s moment to remember from Cape Town, however, was certainly his wonderful reaction catch to dismiss Anrich Nortje from Stokes’ fierce bowling.
“Stokes was bowling so fast,” Crawley said. “And we were so close to the wicket. It was just a matter of sticking my hand out and luckily I managed to make it go up in the air and get my other hand to it.
“It was a great moment when I saw it come down. It seemed to hover in the air. It lasted a lifetime. It was unbelievable when that last wicket fell. The whole experience was the best feeling I’ve had on a cricket field. The crowd singing for all five days was something I’ll never forget. It was brilliant.
“You just want more and more of it. I can see why so many people work hard at this level. Once you get that buzz you want it every day of the week. I can’t wait for the next Test. Hopefully it’s the same again.”