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Burns turns a sow's ear into a silk purse


Joe Burns could hardly have started his tour of New Zealand worse.

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And that’s before Burns lasted four deliveries and was out for a duck in the first Test.

“The first net I had was probably the worst net I’ve ever had, comfortably,” Burns said.

“I played and missed about 95 per cent of the balls I tried to hit… I don’t know if it was the nature of the wicket, probably just rust.”

Things didn’t improve when he gloved one down the leg side at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

But Burns looked in the form of his life on Sunday in Christchurch, producing the highlight of his cricket career.

The opener’s knock of 170 turned the second trans-Tasman Test on its head and showed exactly why national selectors banked on him to fill the immense void left by Chris Rogers’ retirement.

It was the highest score of Burns’ Test career and the 26-year-old rightly ranked it as the best of his three Test tons.

“Because of the context of the game, the fact it was away from home,” he said.

“The first one I got in Brisbane in front of friends and family will be the most satisfying for the rest of my career… this one’s technically my best because of the way I tried to play and I was able to do it for long periods.”

Burns, who started the day on 27, faced 321 deliveries in total.

The Queenslander saw off the second new ball after tea, punishing NZ’s attack in the sort of patient manner that Rogers exhibited in a career that produced almost 25,000 first-class runs.

“I just tried to watch the ball and play straight. The bigger the game, the simpler the gameplans,” Burns said.

“I was pretty nervous trying to get those first runs [on tour]… I was thinking about it all week – just that natural anxiety going into any game, you want to get some runs.”

Burns noted he would take a lot of confidence from the knock.

“I guess I will reflect on it, maybe at the end of the season or end of the series,” he said.

“But certainly it’s very satisfying. I’ve done a lot of work… it’s been a really hectic 12 months.”


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