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Kent captain Sam Billings is right character for new-look England Test squad says county team-mate Jack Leaning

Jack Leaning has backed Kent team-mate Sam Billings to make his mark in the Test arena.

Billings was drafted into the England side for the third Test match against New Zealand at Headingley on Sunday morning.

Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin

It meant Leaning took over the Kent captaincy against Surrey in the County Championship.

It's only a second England Test appearance for Billings but Leaning believes his county colleague is the ideal type of character to fit into the new-look set-up under England captain Ben Stokes.

"I found out on Saturday night so I had a little bit more time to process it than the rest of the people in the media," explained Leaning, with Billings rushing up the M1 on Saturday night before taking to the field in New Zealand's second innings the following morning.

"I'm really pleased for Sam, he's worked very hard on his keeping, he's a brilliant keeper.

"He's keen to pursue his Test career after getting his opportunity in the Ashes in the winter.

"England are flying at the moment, they only need another 130-odd to win.

"He's the type of player who could really flourish under what appears to be the new leadership and the way they are going to go about their cricket.

"He is certainly that attacking-style batter and he's got his flair with the gloves as well. Hopefully he gets a chance to score some runs second innings and see the team home."

Billings made one unusual catch on Sunday to remove Neil Wagner as New Zealand were dismissed for 326, leaving England 296 to chase to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.

Kent's Zak Crawley was out for 25 with the bat as England reached 183-2 at the end of day four, needing 113 more wins to win.

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