Rankin: England can bounce back
Boyd Rankin is hoping a little bit of home comfort can help him lead the England attack with distinction again in Birmingham.
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The 6ft 7in Irishman was one of the few success stories for England at Emirates Old Trafford as they went 1-0 down, with three to play, to Australia in the NatWest Series.
Rankin was far from flattered with figures of two for 49 and, in only his second one-day international appearance for his adopted country, he was the one bowler who managed to keep Australia's batsmen quiet for a worthwhile period.
The 29-year-old seamer was rewarded with two wickets in two balls, finally seeing off Australia captain Michael Clarke after his classy and damaging century and then bowling wicketkeeper Matthew Wade with an especially good delivery.
While almost all England's other bowlers were conceding upwards of six-an-over, Rankin found enough bounce and accuracy to stay under five.
After what can be seen as a minor breakthrough performance therefore, his next task is to ensure he follows up - on his home ground at Edgbaston on Wednesday - with more of the same as an inexperienced England team try to battle their way back into the series.
Rankin knows he has made a handy start, but no more as yet, having made the tough decision to switch allegiances after five years of international cricket with his native Ireland.
"I was pleased with the way I bowled myself, but as a team we didn't perform as well as we could have," he said, reflecting on an 88-run defeat which leaves Eoin Morgan's young side with no wriggle room for the remainder of the series.
"We are a young side who are learning all the time and we will try and bounce back for Wednesday."
Rankin is encouraged by his current form, but believes he can still do better.
"Personally it has been feeling quite good" he added.
"It didn't feel quite up to what it has been at some stages this season, but it has (still) been good enough to pick up a few wickets."
Australia number eight James Faulkner prevented Rankin from taking his first professional hat-trick, although he has been mighty close on three occasions now this summer.
"I think I have had one in my career - which was in a school game," he said.
"I have been on three hat-tricks this year, but just can't quite seem to manage to get the third wicket."
It may be asking a little much to put that right on Wednesday, but the Warwickshire seamer will have a spring in his step in familiar surroundings.
"It will be nice to walk out and play in front of my home crowd - really good," he said.
Rankin did not stay long in the north-west and was already back in the midlands on Sunday night - trying to make the most of the opportunity to prepare on home soil and in his own bed.
"I stayed at home last night and I will try and stay at home as much as I can," he said.
"We have been on the road for the last couple of weeks, so it will be nice to have my own bed.
"For a big lad, it makes a difference."
His move from Ireland to England brings with it the prospect not just of limited-overs cricket for a Test-playing nation but also the opportunity to push to play in his sport's pinnacle format.
Rankin's height means he will remain of particular interest to England bowling coach David Saker, well aware of the key role tall seamers can play - particularly on the bouncy pitches the tourists can expect in this winter's Ashes Down Under.
In the meantime, Rankin can look forward to a few more days in Birmingham - something which may be about to become an increasingly rare luxury.