Brian Lara, Joe Burns, Boxing Day, duck, Jasprit Bumrah

Joe Burns’ half-century at Adelaide Oval last week was seemingly an anomaly in an otherwise horror trot with the bat.

The Queenslander could only survive 10 deliveries on Boxing Day in Melbourne, dismissed by Indian paceman Jasprit Bumrah for a duck.

After a cluster of hesitant prods outside of off stump, Bumrah eventually found the batsman’s outside edge in the fifth over, with Burns feathering a catch through to the wicketkeeper.

It was his sixth single-figure score in seven first-class innings.

West Indies icon Brian Lara examined Burns’ dismissal on Instagram, identify a major flaw in his forward defence.

“This is a simple case of thinking you have to get your bat to the ball before your front foot and head,” Lara posted on Saturday.

“He is on his heel … to play a stroke at any delivery, you need to be balanced and committed when executing.”

Former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting elaborated on Channel 7’s coverage: “Joe Burns just feeling for one outside the line of his front leg. Plays the ball under his eyes, but his front foot was nowhere near the line of the ball.

“It says to me that maybe he was just thinking about Bumrah darting one back in there, worried about the LBW ball.”

Burns has endured a nightmare summer with the bat – he has averaged 11.00 in 12 first-class innings since the Sheffield Shield commenced in October, only passing 11 twice.

An entertaining half-century in the Test series opener at Adelaide ensured he retained his spot in Australia’s starting XI for the Boxing Day Test, but if Burns cannot muster some runs in the second innings at the MCG, he’s at risk of being replaced by the injured David Warner.

Warner is still recovering from a groin injury sustained during the one-day series against India, but will hopefully be available for the third Test in Sydney.

“It seems so difficult to get out of this side,” former Australian bowler Dirk Nannes said on ABC Grandstand. “But if I was picking the team, he’s not in it.”

Regardless, there are question marks hanging over most of Australia’s batting attack, with the host side crumbling on day one of the Boxing Day Test.

The Aussies were bowled out for 195 on Saturday. Apart from Burns, no batsman in Australia’s top six has reached fifty in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to date.

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NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Jack de Belin, Anthony Griffin interview, Lara Pitt

The Dragons have pledged to stand by Jack de Belin and have dismissed concerns the star lock’s uncertain future will negatively impact the squad, salary cap or team’s on-field performance.

De Belin’s playing future is under a cloud after the jury in his sexual assault trial was unable to reach a verdict this week.

St George Illawarra CEO Ryan Webb says a clause in de Belin’s recent contract extension means the player will only be paid a percentage of his salary if his case continues beyond the 2020 season.

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Round 1

Suaalii backflips for Chooks


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