In-form Warner faces new batting partnership in Melbourne
MELBOURNE – Australia batsman David Warner has profited from his opening partnership with Joe Burns but the fledgling relationship could be nipped in the bud by selectors for the Boxing Day test against West Indies.
Since teaming up with Queenslander Burns in the opening test of the New Zealand series, Warner has smashed three centuries, including a sparkling 253 in Perth, from four tests.
Burns smashed a century in the series-opener against New Zealand at the Gabba but has had a more modest output since and could be the batsman to make way for the fit-again Usman Khawaja for the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Warner-Burns partnership has proved effective in all but one of the four tests, with the pair piling on 100-run stands in Brisbane and Perth against New Zealand.
Their breathtaking 75-run partnership in the opening 11 overs of the series-opener against West Indies in Hobart set the tone for a trouncing of the tourists in three days.
Warner enjoyed a solid partnership with Chris Rogers before the veteran’s retirement in the wake of the Ashes defeat and, while diplomatic, was not overly-enthused by the idea of building yet another relationship.
“At the end of the day it’s the selectors’ responsibility to select the team, that’s their job,” Warner told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday. “The way (Burns) started obviously in the first test against New Zealand was fantastic. “He’s been working a lot in the nets really hard to try to get his game back to where it was.
“It’s great to try and build a relationship,” Warner added. “Obviously sometimes relationships work or they don’t. And obviously they come and go. It’s really hard to see someone who’s worked really hard … not get picked. “I’m in the same position. If I don’t score runs, someone will take my position as well.”
Australia can seal the three-match series against West Indies with victory in Melbourne and the only setbacks in their preparations have been an injury to back-up bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile and a knee niggle for captain Steve Smith.
Vice-captain Warner backed Smith to be fit for the match. The sorry state of West Indies cricket has been a major talking point in Australia, with some questioning whether the Caribbean islanders deserved the marquee tests of the summer.
Warner forecast no relief for the beleaguered tourists, who he said had offered little resistance on day one in Hobart when he and Burns were caning their bowlers. “It felt like, from our point of view … they did go through the motions when we were batting on that day when we batted big. But it’s a new game.” -Reuters