Selection chairman Trevor Hohns was at the ground and was on the phone soon after Burns failed. He and fellow selectors Justin Langer and George Bailey now face a major call.
Border said he would not select Burns for Adelaide, preferring Harris and Matthew Wade, the latter elevated from the middle order, to take the roles at the top of the order. David Warner is expected to return from injury for the second Test in Melbourne.
“My gut feel is just no [for Burns]. He has been given these little windows of opportunity because of injury, concussion, circumstances with other guys without nailing down a spot,” Border said.
“If he had just shown something, even if he had 20-odd today and batted OK and got a good ball to get out – you might think: ‘OK, we’ll stick with the incumbent’.”
Burns unveiled a pronounced back leg movement across the stumps and then a forward step, ensuring his head was over a “fourth-stump” line in the hope it would help him pick up the line and length of the delivery better to then either defend or shoulder arms. The flipside was that this exposed his leg stump but it was a chance Burns was prepared to take.
“It was good bowling, they [India] were attacking the off stump. He changed his guard a little bit to cover his off stump better but you can’t miss straight ones on middle stump. He is just having that terrible run at the moment,” Border said.
The left-handed Harris (5 off 16) didn’t do himself any favours by falling into a pre-conceived trap, or what Border said was a “three-card trick”, when he glided Shami from around the wicket to leg gully.
Harris had been worried outside off stump but the chance to flick – one of his strengths – was too difficult to ignore and he fell in the fourth over. That he didn’t appear surprised by what had happened suggested he hadn’t realised a fieldsman was there.
“It was a good piece of bowling, well thought out, they [India] have seen Marcus Harris a few times now,” Border said.
“Just a three-card trick … as a captain you love when things like that come off.”
Harris was added to the Test squad on Saturday after fellow Victorian opener Will Pucovski was ruled out because of concussion. Harris had been in excellent touch through the opening rounds of the Sheffield Shield campaign – he and Pucovski sharing in an all-time Shield record stand – but the selectors still have much to debate after he made 35, 25 not out, 26 and 5 in four innings against the tourists over the past week.
His performances against the Indians are representative of his Test record, where in nine Tests he has averaged only 24.06 without a century.
The selectors have other options at the top of the order, including elevating Wade, allowing Cameron Green to make his debut in the middle order – should he be cleared of concussion.
Border also took aim at Australia A captain Alex Carey, declaring he had dropped a few “pegs” in his estimation for allowing the match to meander in the final session on Saturday night when India strolled to a lead of 472 runs.
“One of the worst, lethargic performances I have seen in the last session of any cricket,” Border said.
“This is Australia A, they are representing Australia, they are young blokes trying to make their way. That fielding performance, bowling performance, captaincy performance – an absolute disgrace. Not up to scratch at all.
“I’m happy for any of those guys to come talk to me about what was going on yesterday afternoon and stand corrected but very ordinary stuff.”
Border, who played a key role in rebuilding the Australian side after the dark days of the mid 1980s, singled out Carey.
“If Alex Carey is in line to be an Australian captain, he has got a lot of work to do. He has gone down quite a few pegs. He is a good cricketer Alex Carey, I like what he brings. He has a bit of energy himself but he should have reacted to the general feel around the team,” he said.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.