Ryan Harris Returns, Joe Burns Handed Debut for Boxing Day Test
Ryan Harris comes in for Mitchell Starc while debutant Joe Burns will replace the injured Mitchell Marsh in the side for the Boxing Day Test.
- Agence France-Presse
- Updated: December 25, 2014 09:04 AM IST
Debutant Joe Burns will bat at number six and paceman Ryan Harris returns for Australia in the third Boxing Day Test against India, skipper Steve Smith said on Thursday.(Dhawan Should Have Been Forced to Bat Earlier at Gabba: Kumble | Kohli Should Have Been Prepared: Gavaskar)
Smith, who won his first Test as captain as a replacement for the injured Michael Clarke at the Gabba last weekend, said Harris would come into the side at the expense of paceman Mitchell Starc for the Melbourne Test match. (Sledging Backfiring on Team India: Gavaskar)
Burns, 25, who has the flexibility of batting anywhere in the top six, replaces injured all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. (Wives Set to Join Battered Team India)
Shane Watson will continue to bat at number three despite scores of 14, 33, 25 and 0 so far in the series against India. (India Don't Believe They Can Win Away From Home: Hayden)
Smith said he had opted for continuity in the third Test with Burns taking Marsh's place lower in the order. (Ishant, Aaron Arrived Late on Day 4 at Gabba)
"Shane Watson's best suited at the top of the order ... Joe will slot in at number six," Smith told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Warner Pledges to Get Into More Indian Heads)
"Mitch has been playing some pretty good cricket ... he was starting to find his feet.
"Disappointing for him, but Joe Burns gets his opportunity on Boxing Day and it's going to be a very special week for him.
"You've got to enjoy it, but I think it's just another cricket game for him and he's been hitting the ball really well, so look, I'm looking forward to seeing him come out here and hopefully score a few runs in this Test match," he said.
David Warner, Watson and Shaun Marsh have been passed fit to play.
Watson and Marsh have recovered after being struck in the nets this week, while Warner will play despite taking a blow on his left thumb during the Gabba Test.
"It was a bit sore when it hit the splice or the toe of the bat but that's to be expected but I feel good and I'm ready to go," Warner said.
"I tried to have a dip at the spinners (in the nets) to see if I could actually hit the ball as hard as I can and it did feel real sore but I had to try and grind it out and get through that pain and I was able to do that."
Australia will reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if they defeat India after winning the opening Tests in Adelaide and Brisbane to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series.
India have lost their last five encounters at the MCG stretching back 23 years.
Australia XI-David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.