Joe Burns had planned to catch a few waves to fill the extra time in his schedule after being omitted from Australia’s Test squad against South Africa but the opening batsman has had to put the surfboard away due to a surprise recall for Hobart.
Burns was dropped for the third Test in Sri Lanka in August after scoring 34 runs in four innings and his replacement Shaun Marsh was retained in the squad for the first two Tests against South Africa.
But Marsh was ruled out of the second Test with a broken finger after the 177-run loss in the opener in Perth, leaving Burns to head south to Tasmania’s chilly state capital rather than to the balmy Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane.
“I had three days up the coast surfing booked,” Queenslander Burns said.
“I guess now I am going to the coldest place in the country. But it’s always a nice feeling to play for your country, to get that chance to sing the national anthem... I can’t wait.”
The 27-year-old Queenslander has played 12 Tests since his 2014 debut against India in Melbourne and will be eager for the chance to re-establish himself as David Warner’s opening partner.
But he also sympathised with 33-year-old Marsh, whose 19-Test career has been repeatedly frustrated by injury.
“It’s unfortunate to get into a team through injury,” Burns said. “I love playing with the boys in the side, that’s what makes it so challenging getting an opportunity after seeing one of your mates miss out.
“I really feel sorry for Shaun. I felt he was batting really well — there were big scores coming for him, that’s the most disappointing thing. Hopefully he gets back real soon and continues that form.”
Burns was added to the squad with uncapped South Australia batsman Callum Ferguson but is almost certain to slot back into the top order of a team under huge pressure.
The WACA loss was Australia’s fourth Test defeat in succession, including the 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka, and its first reverse in a series-opener at home in 28 years. The last time Australia were beaten four times in a row was away to India in 2013, and preceded then-coach Mickey Arthur’s sacking ahead of the Ashes series.
Even without injured pace spearhead, South Africa’s bowlers dominated Australia’s batsmen in Perth and Burns will face a task to step up to international level at Bellerive Oval today.
“I guess I will just focus on the job at hand, a few days of preparation and then getting stuck into a tough contest,” he said. “But I feel I have been hitting the ball well. I am confident going into the game.”
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