Five innings, 57 runs: will Joe Burns keep his Test place?

Australia Test opener Joe Burns faces a nervous wait to see whether he retains his place for the series against India, after his lean start to the summer continued with another low score against South Australia, as calls for Will Pucovski‘s inclusion in the Test team grow louder.

Burns was out for 11, bringing his season’s Sheffield Shield tally to just 57 runs from five innings, while Pucovski has scored 457 runs in two innings and has only been dismissed once.

Queensland opted not to enforce the follow on after South Australia were bowled out 342 runs behind on the first innings early on day three at Glenelg Oval.

The decision allowed Burns another chance to get some valuable time in the middle, albeit with the Bulls looking to accelerate to set up a declaration and leave enough time to take another 10 wickets for a victory.

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Burns started brightly but got a thin edge attempting to pull a bouncer from Chadd Sayers that was above his head and wide of his off stump. It was the second time he has fallen attempting to pull or hook from outside off stump in two games after he got a top edge off Sean Abbott against New South Wales.

Two of his other dismissals also have commonality. He was bowled through the gate attempting to drive Tasmania’s Peter Siddle on the up in the first game of the season while he was given out caught behind off the inside edge attempting a similar shot to Daniel Worrall in the first innings at Glenelg.

Burns, 31, was recalled to Australia’s Test side last summer and played all five Tests after missing out on the Ashes tour completely, despite making 180 in the last Test prior to the tour. He started last season with a bang making 97 against Pakistan at the Gabba in a 222-run stand with David Warner.

He made 53 in the second innings of the first Test against New Zealand but acknowledged he had an underwhelming summer overall while Warner and Marnus Labuschagne plundered six centuries between them at the top of Australia’s order, including a triple and a double.

Burns has scored four Test centuries and averages 38.30, a record that has oddly seen him dropped from the Test side on five separate occasions.

Pucovski, 22, has made an almost irresistible case to be elevated to Test level as soon as possible after successive double-centuries in his first two innings of the Shield season – his first two innings opening the batting in first-class cricket – have left little doubt as to his credentials.

Fellow Victoria opener Marcus Harris, 28, is also making a case after losing his spot to Burns last year, having made 239 and 71 in his only two innings of the summer so far.

The Australia Test squad is due to be announced at the conclusion of this round of Sheffield Shield matches after which the competition will break until after the BBL in February with the latter part of the domestic calendar still be confirmed.

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