Jack Burnham earned a place in distinguished company by making his third century in five innings for England at the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
The tall Durham right-hander made 109 from 123 balls to set up a crushing 203-run win against Namibia in the first round of the fifth-placed play-offs, following scores of 148 against Fiji. and an unbeaten 106 against Zimbabwe, in the group stages.
Burnham is comfortably the leading runscorer in the tournament with 418 at an average of more than 100, a tally that is thought to be a new record for England at an ICC Under-19 World Cup – beating the 383 made by Alastair Cook in seven innings when the tournament was last held in Bangladesh in early 2004.
Cook’s tally included two centuries, against New Zealand and Zimbabwe, and 87 against Pakistan – after he had failed to reach 30 in either of England’s first two games in the tournament against Nepal and Uganda.
But crucially, his runs helped England to reach the semi-finals – where they were beaten by West Indies – whereas Burnham has shared in the huge collective disappointment of England’s quarter-final exit while enjoying his personal success.
He has also become the first player to score three centuries in a World Cup since Shikhar Dhawan made 155 not out against Scotland, 120 against Bangladesh and 146 against Sri Lanka for the India team who also reached the semi-finals of that 2004 tournament.
“Personally it’s been unbelievable,” said Burnham.
“It couldn’t have gone any better really. I feel as though I’ve been quite selfish with my batting which is something I learned last season.
“I know we’ve got a strong bowling attack out here so if I can go on once I’ve got 50 to make a hundred, we should win the match.
“That’s what happened again today. The lads really did bounce back from the game against Sri Lanka, and now we’re all looking forward to our play-off final against Pakistan on Friday. If we can win that we can go back feeling a bit better.”
Burnham’s next aim after that will be to establish himself in Durham’s first team, after making his first four CountyChampionship appearances last summer.
“I learned so much from those four games,” he reflected.
Jack Burnham passes Alistair Cook’s #U19CWC tournament record for runs!
— ICC (@ICC) February 10, 2016
“Having those big names at the club giving me so much information, and I’m a lad who will always take that in.
“Coming out here it’s given me a lot of confidence, and hopefully I can go back there and keep pushing for my place. That’s my main goal.”
Burnham also praised the Sussex left-arm seamer George Garton and Nottinghamshire’s Tom Moores, who both seized their first chance since arriving in Bangladesh.
Moores, playing as a specialist opener with Ryan Davies continuing as wicketkeeper, made 85 from 96 balls with 11 fours and two sixes, sharing a second-wicket stand of 170 in 29 overs with Burnham.
Garton then took two early wickets with rapid swinging deliveries – described as “thunderbolts” by Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane, who took 3-3 to polish off Namibia’s tail.
“Tom and George have done really well to make the most of their opportunity,” added Burnham.
“They’ve had to be patient and bite their tongue a little bit, but they’ve earned their chance and I’m very pleased they’ve both done well because they’re good lads.”
Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood took one more wicket to remain joint top of the World Cup wicket-taking charts with 13.