“They stuck with him for the first Test and he did repay them in the second innings there. But the difficult thing with the Australian summer is if you leave Joe Burns out now what’s he going to do? He’s going to play Big Bash cricket, there’s no Sheffield Shield cricket to play. Even Davey Warner hasn’t played a game in a while, but he’ll slot in when he’s fit.
“What I saw [from Warner on Sunday] was promising signs, the fact he is in the nets batting, doing a bit of jogging between wickets. The fact he is out there doing that 10 or 11 days before the next Test match, I will be very, very surprised if he doesn’t play.
“I think the next Test is on the seventh, so plenty of time for him to get fully fit. With his record, David Warner walks back into the side.”
It’s been a summer to forget for Burns, who has only 125 runs at 10.4 in 13 first-class innings. His only knock of joy had been an unbeaten 51 in a successful team run chase in the Adelaide Test.
Former Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell said Monday had been a century or bust innings for Burns.
While he has been in god touch in the nets, Warner still has work to do on fitness, namely his sprinting between the wickets and running in the outfield.
Fill-in opener Wade has looked largely assured at the top of the order and is set to retain his spot there. Having been “thrown to the wolves a bit” by agreeing to take on the makeshift role, former Test opener Chris Rogers said it would be unfair for Wade to be axed.
However, he could slip back to No.6 if the Australians drop raw all-rounder Cameron Green, which could allow opener Marcus Harris to return to the side. Will Pucovski, still dealing with the fall-out of his latest concussion, is unlikely to be considered for the third Test, which will be held either in Melbourne or Sydney.
Ponting said Burns had been in “panic mode” in an innings where he appears to have played himself out of the team.
“Everything was happening when Burns was out there. We can see he was in a bit of panic mode – almost got run out twice and had umpire’s call on an LBW decision that went his way. Looked like sheer panic mode from Burns,” he said.
“We did highlight his struggles before the first Test match. He’s now had 13 first-class innings this summer, 125 runs at an average of 10.4. Eight of those dismissals have been caught behind, two bowled and two LBW so that’s never a great sign for an opening batsman. In fact, if you take the 50-odd not-out in the second innings in Adelaide, without that innings he would average 6.1 for the summer.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald