Burns failure raises more questions

Australia opener Joe Burns is back in the selection gun after following up his half-century lifeline in Adelaide with a 10-ball duck on Boxing Day.

Burns was the first wicket to fall in the second Test as India bowled out the home side for 195 on day one at the MCG.

Fellow opener Matthew Wade (30) and No.5 batsman Travis Head (38) failed to cash in on positive starts and Steve Smith was dismissed without scoring in an extension of his struggles in Adelaide.

But it was Burns’ third duck in seven innings against touring Indian teams this summer that will be at the forefront of selectors’ minds as they ponder David Warner’s impending return from a groin injury.

Burns never settled at the crease and it came as no surprise when he tickled a Jasprit Bumrah delivery behind to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

The right-hander made an unbeaten 51 as Australia comfortably chased down a meagre 90 runs for victory in the first Test, but has managed just 13 runs in his other six innings against touring Indian teams this summer.

The unflattering record has come after Burns averaged 11.4 in three Sheffield Shield matches for Queensland this season.

Makeshift opener Wade hit three boundaries on his way to 30 off 39 balls before throwing his wicket away when he skied a catch to Ravindra Jadeja off Ravichandran Ashwin.

Head got set and occupied the crease longer than any of his teammates bar Marnus Labuschagne (48) before edging Bumrah (4-56) to Ajinkya Rahane at gully.

Inexperienced allrounder Cameron Green (12) was also out cheaply batting at No.6.

Their performances didn’t offer any answers to Australia’s batting line-up conundrum as Warner continues his race against time to be fit for the third Test.

In Warner’s absence, Australia are yet to reach 200 in an innings during the Test series and just two batsmen – Burns and Tim Paine, both in the first Test – have passed 50.

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