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Warner walks taller with Burns

Cricket

It’s been a summer of transition for Australia, especially at the top of their batting order.

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Chris Rogers was one of a handful of Test players to retire at the end of last year’s Ashes.

The race to replace Rogers was wide open – Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh were all strongly considered by national selectors.

Rod Marsh’s panel decided to back Burns.

The 26-year-old repaid their faith with a pair of tons, although he was almost squeezed out of Australia’s XI for the Boxing Day Test.

Usman Khawaja’s MCG recall came after a knock of 182 from Marsh.

But selectors retained Burns ahead of Marsh, with David Warner glad they took a long-term view of the fledgling opening partnership.

“Definitely, and I like that left-hand, right-hand combination,” Warner said.

“It works great and I think it’s four 100-run partnerships (the new pair have combined for) … we gel so well together out there.”

Warner scored the fastest ever SCG Test ton on day five of the dead rubber against West Indies.

Australia’s vice-captain reached three figures in 82 balls, smacking the tourists’ trundlers all over the field.

Burns managed 26 off 41 balls in his only innings of the game.

“He complements the way I play and I complement him,” Warner said.

“Sometimes you’re actually going to have to sit back and watch the other players dictate terms.

“You’ve got to work together as a partnership to get through those tough times and at the moment we’re going very well.

“But these next couple of months we’ve got New Zealand and we’ve got to go to Sri Lanka so there’s going to be some challenges.”

Marsh is about to link up with the ODI squad in Perth, while it’s likely he will tour New Zealand as a reserve batsman next month.

Steve Smith suggested Marsh’s recent form, which includes a couple of BBL half-centuries, should keep the Test batsmen on their toes.

“The order is quite settled – and with Shaun in the mix as well,” Smith said.

“He obviously played extremely well in the Adelaide Test match and Hobart [filling in for the injured Khawaja]…he’s still in the frame.”

Smith was thrilled with how his new-look Test side clicked this summer, winning series against New Zealand and West Indies.

“It’s been quite an impressive summer for us, to win four Tests out of the six and not lose any,” he said.

WARNER AND BURNS’ PRODUCTIVE START

*Average Test stand of 75.8 runs

*Already have four partnerships of 100 runs or more

*Shared stands of 161 and 237 in their first Test together, at the Gabba against NZ.

-AAP

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