Joe Burns ready to 'land first punch' ahead of India Test series

Australia Test opener Joe Burns on Thursday said they will use the tour games to gauge India's bowling attack, while denying them any momentum heading into the four-match Test series.

Australia coach Justin Langer has hinted that Joe Burns will continue as opening partner for David Warner in the forthcoming four-match Test series against India.   -  REUTERS

Australia Test opener Joe Burns on Thursday said they will use the tour games to gauge India's bowling attack, while denying them any momentum heading into the four-match Test series, starting with the pink ball Test on December 17.

India is scheduled to play two three-day tour games against Australia A. India A, which features Test specialists, will take on Australia A in the first three-day game, starting December 6. The second tour match, scheduled to begin from December 11, will be played with pink ball.

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“The focus is always about trying to win games and starting this week with Australia A, it’s about getting our preparations sorted for the Test series but also putting India on the back foot, landing the first punch and making sure they don’t take any momentum into what’s going to be a fantastic series,” Burns said at a virtual news conference.

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World class outfit

Burns said India has a skillful bowling attack, spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah, and that the openers have to “start well” against them. “It’s their (openers') role. It’s not always the runs you make. Sometimes it’s the balls you can face and the pressure you can absorb that goes a long way to getting results.

“Their bowling attack has stayed together for a long time now, so we’ve all seen their bowlers, but they’re very skillful and they’re going to pose a huge threat. They’re a team that you can’t take lightly, they’re a world class outfit and their bowling attack plays a big part in that.”

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“We’ll prepare well for this game and do as much preparation as we can (for Adelaide Test) and make sure we are prepared for a really tough battle. If we can start well it’s going to go a long way to winning the series.”

Getting stuck in

Burns is expected to open with an in-form 22-year-old William Pucovski in the pink-ball Adelaide Test as regular opener David Warner is down with a groin injury.

Burns said building a rapport with Pucovski would be crucial since they have only batted together once in an A-game in Sussex last year. “I haven’t had a chance to bat too often with Will. So the Australia A game and the lead-up to it, it’s a crucial part of our preparation as a Test squad. It’s exciting, Will’s obviously in really good form. He’s earned his spot in the squad and I’m just looking forward to getting to work with him and getting stuck in,” he said.

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The 31-year-old, who has appeared in just 21 Tests since making his debut against India in December 2014, has been struggling of late. His top-score was 29 from five innings in Sheffield Shield.

“The last few weeks I got a chance to go away to Byron Bay and worked with our batting coach Adam Hollioake. The key thing was to work on patience. So I’ve faced thousands of balls and just tried to face each ball like it’s my first one,” he said.

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