There has been plenty of conjecture about what the Australian top order will look like ahead of the first test against India on Thursday.
David Warner is out with a groin injury suffered in the One Day International series, while fellow incumbent Joe Burns has had a nightmare summer so far.
In nine first-class innings digs this summer for Queensland and Australia A, Burns has made just 62 runs. Averaging 6.89, with his last four innings in two games for Australia A having yielded scores of 4, 0, 0 and 1.
Will Pucovski seemed destined for a test debut but he was struck in the helmet when playing for Australia A and suffered a concussion.
The young Victorian has had previous concussion issues and will not play in Adelaide.
So who opens for the Australian’s as they look to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy? Ricky Ponting believes he has the solution.
Speaking on Channel 7, Ponting believes Joe Burns has enough brownie points to hold on to his spot despite current form.
“I’m sticking with Joe Burns,” Ponting said on Seven. “I’ve heard a lot of suggestions that he hasn’t scored enough runs to stay in the side but I’m keeping him in there.
“He made 40 in his last Test innings, he’s made four Test hundreds, averages almost 40 – I’m sticking with him and showing some faith. I think he’s good enough to get through it.
“What Marcus Harris hasn’t done is score (Test) hundreds – (his) highest score is 70-odd, (whereas) Joe Burns can score Test match hundreds. I’m sticking with him.”
Ponting has long been a supporter of the Queensland opener, last year he backed him for a long stint in the baggy green.
“(Selectors) don’t need to go looking for an opener now for the next couple of years, as far as I’m concerned.
“Just lock him in now, I reckon,” he added. “Lock him in ’til the end of the (2021-22) Ashes and give him a good go.”
Ponting named his XI for the first test, in a shock move the former skipper elevated Matthew Wade to open with Burns which allowed Western Australian Cameron Green to slot in at 6.
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) December 14, 2020
“What I am doing is moving Matthew Wade up to the top of the order to open with (Burns), (give) a left-hand, right-hand combination,” he added. “We saw last time India were out here and we had two left-handers at the top of the order, the India bowling attack absolutely dominated the two lefties, so that’s the way I’m going.
“I think you’ve got to tell Wade it’s just for one game. ‘Wadey’ will want to do it; he’ll be excited by this, he’s that sort of character that he’d love the chance to get up there and take on the Indian opening bowlers in a Test match. He won’t shy away from it.”
“Hopefully he’s fit – he had that concussion sub in the last Australia A game but he’s in very, very good form so I’d slot him in at number six,” he said. “I’m really excited by him and looking forward to watching him play.”