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Cricket news - Burns, Warner relish their top-order reunion
If there was one sore spot about Australia's Ashes win earlier this year, it was that their openers had little to no part to play in the victory. David Warner, despite his struggles against Stuart Broad, was persisted with for all the five matches. While he couldn't turn around his fortunes, neither could his partners - Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris - who were eventually dropped from the XI. And as the Australian management continued to grapple with the problem, Joe Burns arrived as a possible solution.
In their first reunion, Burns and Warner stitched a 222-run stand, batting more than 60 overs on Day 2 of the Brisbane Test against Pakistan. "I'm the beauty, he's the beast," Burns said explaining his bond with David Warner.
It's taken more than three years and 13 opening combinations for Warner and Burns to reunite at the top of the Test line-up for Australia. And they took little time to make a mark with that 'beauty' and 'beast' style of play. Explaining why their combination works well, Burns said, "I think the left-hand-right-hand certainly helps. I've always said batting with Dave is really easy. You get down the non-striker's end, you look up and the scoreboard's ticking along. There's no pressure to score.
"I think the biggest thing for me is just the engagement we have. We're always talking about how the bowlers are trying to bowl, where we can score, where the threats are. When you have a combination like that with your partner, you lean on your partner during the tough times and as the innings you develops there will be scoring opportunities for each of us to take advantage of. I think we saw that today.
"The Gabba can be a great place to bat once you get in and if the bowlers are missing their areas and the left-hand-right-hand certainly helps with that. The way we prepare as well, having someone who has been there and done it, someone to talk to about how they're going to go about their preparation and then walking out into battle with them next to you makes it a lot easier. You'd be silly not to lean on guys in our team that have the experience that they've got and had the success that guys like Davey has had," Burns added.
Warner, on the other hand, also turned the attention towards the off-field camaraderie the duo share and said, "Me and my wife got introduced to his girlfriend the other day and we had nice meal together and it was great to rekindle that love we sort of had. It was fantastic to see (that hundred) to come together and be able to do what we do best and have that intent when we're out there, feed off each other very well.
"Not just out there but at training we've got a unique relationship, he's the rare unit, just to clarify that we're good friends, always keep in touch when we're not playing with each other. We enjoy batting together. it's awesome to come out here and do that today."
Even in his short 16-match Test career, Burns has partnered with Warner earlier, in 2016 against Sri Lanka. It was a forgettable tour for the Australians as they were whitewashed 3-0, and all the more for the Brisbane opener, who amassed a total of 34 runs in 4 innings. Burns was dropped from the side and made a comeback only a year and a half later when Warner and Bancroft were serving their ban.
"He's worked his backside off to get here and be here again," Warner said. "I'm just trying to remember back to Sri Lanka. I think I threw the toys off the cot a lot as well. That was a challenging series for a lot of us. But I think as I alluded to before, the success we've had together, especially here at home, has been fantastic. As Joe said before, we just have this energy about us when we're out there. We communicate a lot when we're out there, even though we probably wouldn't want to talk about it out there. But we do."
Unlike Warner, who marked his return to Test cricket in Australia with a century - his 22nd in Tests - Burns, missed out on the landmark by only three runs. There were signs of nervousness as soon as he reached the 90s, but the Brisbane man denied getting awed by the occasion.
"Look, it's a very bitter feeling getting bowled around your legs on 97 by a legspinner at the Gabba," Burns said, explaining his dismissal, which was the only success Pakistan got on the day. "I was really satisfied with how I batted. Felt I did a lot of things right and I know if I can bat like that more often than not, hopefully it can equate to plenty runs more. Just be better in the 90s next time and go on and bat the day and come out again tomorrow, do it all again. You look at guys like Davey, finish 150 not out, they're the sorts of innings that win Test matches and that's a challenge for us batters and our batting group. Be better but happy with how I batted.
"I think I just tried to sweep one and dragged it onto the stumps. You never know. Obviously you always want to get to three figures and it can creep into your mind but don't think I changed the way I played. I think we had them in a pretty good position facing an old ball, plenty of scoring opportunities there, just had to execute and unfortunately, I didn't on that ball and you walk off with 97 instead of a hundred to your name."
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