BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) -Batsman Joe Burns was a surprise addition 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 reached his highest first-class score of 183 against New South Wales last month to put himself in the frame for selection.
“It took a fair while to sink in,” Burns said after he was called by chief selector Rod Marsh with the news on Sunday.
“I’m over the moon at the news as it is the best Christmas present I could ever hope for.”
Team coach Darren Lehmann 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 India’s second innings 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 Sydney Test, starting on January 6.
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 pretty 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.
“The game was played at a fast pace, it was four and half runs an over for the whole Test match,” he said.
“It was exciting again and it’s been an amazing nine days of Test cricket.
“I certainly would have liked us to do it a bit better than six wickets down, one or two down would have been a lot better, but they got the job done, that’s the main thing.”
Australia – David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.