England start Burns misses the rest of the South Africa tour

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England's Rory Burns responds during the game. REUTERS / Rogan Ward

KAPSTADT (Reuters) – England's "cursed" tour of South Africa continued on Thursday after opening player Rory Burns was suspended for the rest of the fourth test series due to an ankle injury while playing football.

The loss of Burns for the second test in Newlands, which starts on Friday, is a major blow to the tourists, who had already infected 17 players and support staff during the series with flu.

"The first batsman, Rory Burns, suffered ligament damage to his left ankle," said the Cricket Board of England and Wales.

"He was excluded from the rest of the South African test series and will return home for further assessment and treatment as soon as possible."

The 29-year-old Burns scored 84 goals in the second inning after his 107 defeat in the first test in the first test for England and looked safe on a difficult wicket.

In preparation for training on Thursday, he was injured playing football. England could also get along without Jofra Archer in Cape Town because the fast bowler has an elbow injury.

It is not the first time that England have lost a key player in their warm-up games. Wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow was injured in Sri Lanka in 2018, which prompted English cricket director Ashley Giles to stop playing.

Zak Crawley is likely to replace Burns on the team and should play alongside his colleague Dom Sibley, who was ill in preparation for the second test but is expected to be fit to play.

Reporting by Nick Said, editor of Pritha Sarkar