Joe Burns has returned to form with a classy 51 not out as Australia claimed an eight-wicket win over India in a crazy first Test.
But after having had an awful lead into the series, no sooner had Burns hit a six to win the game, the questions began over his place in the side for the next Test.
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Burns came into the series having scored 62 runs in nine first class innings before the first Test and appeared destined to lose his spot at the top of the order for Australia.
But the injuries to David Warner and Will Pucovski meant Burns was able to keep his spot with Matthew Wade moving from the middle order to open.
It appeared to backfire with both men scoring eight apiece in the first innings but the pair combined better in the second dig.
After the bowlers produced the heroics to bowl India out for just 36 — India’s lowest ever score — Burns and Wade batted Australia to the win.
The pair combined for a 70 run stand before Wade was run out in bizarre circumstances for 33.
He charged down the wicket and flicked the ball into Prithvi Shaw at short leg and the ball ricocheted to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who flicked the ball between his legs onto the stumps.
But Burns kept going and brought up the winning runs with a six which also brought up his half-century as he finished on 51 not out.
His teammates embraced Burns after the match but none would have meant as much as coach Justin Langer.
Joe Burns and Justin Langer share a hug.Source:Getty Images
Langer may have been happier than Burns himself.Source:Getty Images
Langer had hinted that Burns would retain his spot in the team before the match and that they would stand with the under fire opener.
“Great pictures you can see there of Joe Burns and Justin Langer,” Shane Warne said in Fox Cricket commentary.
“That was a real moment with Justin Langer backing Joe Burns in,” Isa Guha added.
“We all wondered whether they would go with him at the top of the order after he looked out of sorts.
“He looked shot for confidence and they stuck with him and he just vindicated that faith to keep him at the top.
“A special moment and this is what it is all about to hug your teammates at the end of the day and go and celebrate.”
Aussie captain Tim Paine was also full of praise for Burns.
“Burnsy’s a really important part of our team,” Paine said. “All cricketers know how hard it is when you’re going through a run like that. And then to come out in Test match cricket and try find a way out of it is a really difficult place to be. So we’re thrilled for Burnsy to get a 50 not out, it will do his confidence a world of good.”
Bringing up a 50 with a six was a perfect finish.Source:Getty Images
But the questions quickly began over whether Burns had done enough to retain his spot.
Warne said he felt that the half century was enough to give him the opening spot alongside David Warner if the injured Aussie opener returned for the Boxing Day Test.
“I think so, with David Warner coming back, I think he’s done enough,” he said. “I think Australia will be unchanged if Warner’s 50-50, they’ll give him the extra week, but if he’s fully fit then he has to come into the side and probably Matthew Wade will unfortunately have to make way.”
But on ABC, Jim Maxwell called it “a conundrum” with former Australian women’s start Kristen Beams arguing for Wade to stay at the top of the order.
“I probably wouldn’t play Burns,” she said . “I’d leave Wade there. He’s still playing an important role for this team.”
Burns stays to partner Warner. Wade moves back down and Head misses out.
So if burns is not completely shot after all, who makes way from a winning team if warner is fit – green was his replacement but nobody would want him dumped immediately. Selectors back in hot seat even in victory. #AUSvIND
Take me back 24 hours and tell me that Joe Burns is going to outscore India in the second innings.#AUSvIND
JOE BURNS 🙌🏻 Look now happy Langer is for him 😭 #AUSvIND
Joe Burns hits the winning runs in a Test match for the first time. What a roller-coaster of emotions for the Queenslander #AUSvIND
Warner is no certain starter for the Boxing Day Test, despite having had to fly to Victoria early due to the COVID-19 outbreak on the Northern Beaches and starting to run again after a groin injury during the second ODI against India.
If Warner is fit, he’ll no doubt be there for the Boxing Day Test.Source:Getty Images
There are plenty of options available to selectors when the injured players do return to the side but Burns was pleased to repay the faith.
“It feels bloody nice,” Burns said on Fox Cricket.
“Obviously the build up I didn’t get many runs so I just wanted to keep fighting hard and make people proud.
“It’s a really nice moment to be walking off with a win for Australia.
“To be honest, I’ve been trying to keep it as simple as possible. I know if I do the basics well, I make runs. JL has been fantastic, obviously the selectors sticking with me helps.
“You get out here and you get in a contest and open the batting for Australia. It’s very easy to get motivated and focus on the job at hand, especially against such great opposition.”
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