Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has backed Joe Burns to be retained for the Boxing Day Test despite another failure in the Brisbane Heat’s seven-wicket Big Bash League loss to Melbourne Renegades at the Gabba on Saturday night.
A 111-run second-wicket stand between captain Aaron Finch (65) and unwanted Bushranger Cameron White (55) helped the Renegades eclipse the Heat’s daunting 5-180 with three balls to spare.
A late cameo by big-hitting West Indian Dwayne Bravo (22no) helped the visitors reach 3-184 in the final over in front of 26,245.
Out-of-sorts opener Burns is under the pump to keep his spot ahead of the Boxing Day Test against the West Indies with Usman Khawaja returning from a hamstring injury.
But Ponting backed Burns to again partner David Warner at the top of the order in Melbourne next week despite falling for an unimpressive 16 for the Heat.
“I think Joe has done enough,” Ponting, now a Network Ten commentator, said.
“The team is winning. If you are going to give these young blokes a go give them a decent go.”
Replacement batsman Shaun Marsh had been expected to make way if Khawaja was passed fit for the second Test line-up.
But Marsh (182) impressed by sharing in a fourth wicket record 449-run stand with Adam Voges (269no) in Australia’s recent first Test win over the West Indies in Hobart.
Burns did not help his cause on Saturday night when he was caught slogging spinner Xavier Doherty (2-29) for a run-a-ball 16, featuring just one four.
The Heat have just one more BBL game – in Hobart on Tuesday night – scheduled before the Boxing Day Test.
Adding to the pressure, Khawaja will make his long awaited return from injury in Sydney Thunder’s Sunday night away clash with the Melbourne Stars.
Doherty was on a hat-trick when he had Burns caught hitting out in the 10th over, reducing the Heat to 3-63.
Ex-Test cricketer White may find it tough to make the Victorian Sheffield Shield side these days.
But he staked an early claim for next year’s T20 World Cup squad with his 41-ball effort that featured four fours and a six.
“He’s got something to prove, he still wants to play for Australia,” Renegades coach David Saker said of White who has plied his trade in the Futures League this summer for Victoria.
National T20 captain Finch was just as impressive in his man of the match knock peppered by six fours and three sixes.
He became the first man to reach 1,000 BBL runs during his stirring knock.