Dan Lawrence rues missing his chance to score a maiden Test century

Dan Lawrence admits missing his chance to score a maiden Test century against the West Indies ‘took a while to get over’… but his hard-hitting 91 was proof that he has a future with the new England

  • Lawrence regrets wasting his big opportunity to score a maiden Test century
  • He scored a hard-hitting 91 against West Indies last year, but then made an errorĀ 
  • That ‘small taste’ of England success before injury made him eager to get moreĀ 

Dan Lawrence regrets wasting his big opportunity to score a maiden Test century but in disappointment came irrefutable proof he had a future with what became the new England.

Lawrence transformed a slow-paced first day of the second Test against West Indies in Barbados last year when he smashed 13 fours and a six in his hard-hitting 91.

But with his first Test century in sight and having hit Jason Holder for two fours in successive balls in the last over of the day he went for a third and instead gave it away.

Dan Lawrence regrets missing out on a century against the West Indies last March by nine runs

‘It was a tough one to take at the time and it took a while to get over that,’ Lawrence told Sportsmail. ‘It was bitterly disappointing to get out right at the end of the day.

‘It was a classic case of getting a bit too excited and wanting to get the hundred that night. If I had that chance again I’d play it slightly differently – or I’ll just be even more aggressive. I wouldn’t be half hearted.’

Little did Lawrence know his methods would soon become the norm under the new regime that was to transform Test cricket last summer – including his desire to reach three figures that night rather than play it safe for the morning.

Lawrence’s methods in achieving that 91 have made him crucial to England going forward

Lawrence would have been very much in contention for a place last summer but, trouble was, he picked up a troublesome hamstring injury after that Caribbean tour right at the start of the domestic season.

It left him stuck on 11 Test appearances with plenty of promise but as yet no centuries and ruled him out of the early stages of the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum revolution.

But Stokes had taken note of the selfless way Lawrence, 25, played in that otherwise miserable tour of the Caribbean and the Essex man will leave for New Zealand next week, with Jonny Bairstow still absent through injury, restored to the Test squad and desperate to carry on where he left off against West Indies.

‘It is generally how I try to play my cricket,’ said the attack-minded Lawrence. ‘Personal milestones are important but as long as you’re trying to make an impact in any game, whether that’s getting a quick 30 or if the team needs you to try to bat all day, then you can’t go too far wrong.

He hopes he can continue that form after returning from injury for two Tests in New Zealand

‘My injury came at a really tough time and then the hamstring went again when I tried to come back too soon, so I never really got any momentum through last season.

‘I was always thinking of England and ended up being a bit too desperate to get back and that affected my county performances. So to get the call now actually means more than when I first played for England.’

And there is no doubt, if Lawrence gets the chance to play in the two Tests in Mount Maunganui and Wellington, of how we will go about his batting. ‘It’s fairly self-explanatory with this team now,’ he said.

‘I’m close to a few of the boys in the dressing room and having chatted to Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope they’ve just got so much freedom and clarity and that is showing in their numbers. They’re improving so much and they’re just taking the game on.

Lawrence is currently playing in the new United Arab Emirates T20 league with Dubai Capitals

‘The fundamentals of red-ball cricket are still applied but if you really fancy going after someone no-one’s going to tell you off for getting caught at mid-off or mid-wicket. It’s just ‘go and do whatever you want to do but be clear about it’.

That is music to the ears of the flamboyant and often unorthodox Lawrence. ‘I’ve always enjoyed the sense of freedom of going out to play,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t necessarily mean just teeing off because I really don’t think that’s what the boys are doing.

‘Maybe batting is not as technical as it has been in the past. It’s more about the game-plan rather than trying to play the perfect cover drive. The boys are sensing parts of the game where they can really take it on and just expressing themselves knowing what will be will be. When everyone has that freedom and clarity they end up playing well anyway.’

Lawrence said a ‘small taste’ of England level has made him extra keen on continuing there

Now Lawrence, currently playing in the new United Arab Emirates T20 league, is back in the fold, England is very much where he wants to be. ‘Massively,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a small taste of it and I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give at that level.

‘I played some really good innings at the start of my Test career but I was fairly inconsistent. It can happen. If I play again now it will be amazing but if I don’t I will try to be the best I can around the group.

‘Whenever the time does come I’d love another crack at it and try to put some really good numbers on the board. I don’t care where I bat. The way things are going you can be potentially thrown in anywhere. I just want to play again for England.’

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