Cricket round-up: Joe Burns pick provides flexibility for Australia

In other news, England maintain Kevin Pietersen will not return to the international squad.
Joe Burns, 25, has been named as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh. Chris Hyde / Getty Images
Joe Burns, 25, has been named as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

BRISBANE // Batsman Joe Burns was a surprise addition on Sunday to Australia’s 13-man squad for the third Test against India, starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

The 25-year-old Queensland right-hander was named as a replacement for injured Mitchell Marsh in the Australian team that defeated India by four wickets in Brisbane on Saturday to take a 2-0 series lead.

Burns has yet to play Test cricket, but he reached his highest first-class score of 183 against New South Wales last month to enter the frame for selection.

“It took a fair while to sink in,” Burns said after he was called by chief selector Rod Marsh on Sunday. “I’m over the moon at the news, as it is the best Christmas present I could ever hope for.”

Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, said Burns offered flexibility with his ability to bat anywhere in the top six.

“He’s a very good player against fast bowling, he’s had a good couple of summers at the Gabba with Queensland,” Lehmann said. “There have been some good contenders for that spot and it’s always a tough call on other players.

“He’s a very aggressive player, which is the way we like to play our cricket. We went with Joe, he’s a younger player and we feel he has something about him.”

Lehmann said selectors went with an extra batsman for Marsh after Shane Watson bowled well in Brisbane to adequately fill Marsh’s all-rounder role.

Marsh, who injured his right hamstring while bowling on the opening day of the Gabba Test, will stay with the Test squad and be assessed for the fourth Test, starting on January 6 in Sydney.

Lehmann said opener David Warner had a bruised left thumb after being struck by India paceman Umesh Yadav on the final day of the Gabba Test.

“Last night it was just bruised, so hopefully he pulls up alright and we’ll get to Melbourne and sum it up as we go,” he said. “The initial signs are good and I’m confident he’s going to be fine.”

Lehmann said he would have liked Australia to have finished better in their chase after 128 runs for victory at the Gabba.

Meanwhile, Australia have been fined for maintaining a slow over rate and India paceman Ishant Sharma has been found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct in Brisbane, the ICC said on Sunday.

New captain Steven Smith was fined 60 per cent of his match fee for his team’s slow over-rate.

Match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the fine after Smith’s side was ruled to be three overs short of their target when time allowances were taken into consideration.

Ishant was fined 15 per cent of his match fee engaging in “language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match”.

Ishant was seen on the television broadcast using inappropriate words after dismissing Smith in Australia’s first innings.

No Pietersen return

England made it clear on Sunday that Alastair Cook’s dismissal as one-day captain has not opened the door for a return to international cricket for batsman Kevin Pietersen. The South African-born player’s undermining of Cook was one of several reasons he was cast aside by England in January after England’s 5-0 defeat in the Ashes series in Australia. Pietersen, 34, said this month he still had hopes of a recall, but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton quelled any hopes of a comeback. “We parted company with Kevin in January because throughout the ECB management, from the dressing room up to the board, it was felt that it was the right decision to go in a slightly different direction,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

Deonarine back in Windies squad

Batsman Narsingh Deonarine has been added to the West Indies Test squad for the final two matches in South Africa, the West Indies cricket board has said. Deonarine comes in for Assad Fudadin, who fractured a finger in the warm-ups ahead of the first Test in Pretoria that ended in an innings and 220-run defeat for the tourists on Saturday. Deonarine, 31, also an off-spinner, has played 18 Tests, the last of which was in New Zealand a year ago. The second Test starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday, with the final Test to be played in Cape Town from January 2.

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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