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Burns the newcomer in 3rd Test


Burns the newcomer in 3rd Test

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Joe Burns will make his Test debut batting No. 6 for Australia in the third Test match against India beginning Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australia captain Steve Smith confirmed his starting XI on Thursday morning, with Burns and paceman Ryan Harris coming into the side to replace fast bowler Mitchell Starc and injured all-rounder Mitch Marsh.

Burns has been opening for Queensland this season, but Smith said he wanted to maintain continuity in his side, so Burns will take Marsh’s place in the order.

Australia will reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if they defeat India at the MCG, taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series. The final Test begins on January 6 in Sydney.

“Shane Watson (No. 3) is best suited at the top of the order … Joe will slot in at No. 6,” Smith said. “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.”

India were not expected to finalise their team until just before the toss on Friday.

All-rounder Akshar Patel has joined the team, replacing the injured Ravindra Jadeja for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests. Patel, who turns 21 in January, is a left-arm spinner who has taken 14 wickets in nine One-Day Internationals but has not played a Test.

Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (captain), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Ryan Harris.