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Burns, Head push Ashes claims in Canberra

Joe Burns and Travis Head have become Australia's first two century-makers of the summer to help Australia to 4-384 against Sri Lanka on day one in Canberra.

Burns, Head push Ashes claims in Canberra

Joe Burns and Travis Head have become Australia's first two century-makers of the summer to help Australia to 4-384 against Sri Lanka on day one in Canberra.

DINESH CHANDIMAL of Sri Lanka bats during the Second Test match in the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand.
DINESH CHANDIMAL of Sri Lanka bats during the Second Test match in the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture:Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

It has taken six Tests but Joe Burns and Travis Head have become the first Australian batsmen this summer to stake their claims for Ashes berths, smashing the hosts to 4-384 against Sri Lanka on day one in Canberra.

After Sri Lanka had Australia wobbling at 3-28, Burns and Head hit centuries in a record-breaking 308-run fourth-wicket stand in the second Test.


Burns went to stumps unbeaten on 172, becoming the first Australian opener in more than two years to bat through the first day of a Test.

Kurtis Patterson is with him on 25no, but only after Head had compiled a stylish 161 to post his maiden Test century.

Batting together for the first time, the pair took few risks early but punished anything loose from a Sri Lankan attack missing their three quicks from the Gabba through injury.

Burns was particularly strong off the back foot, pulling all three of their replacement quicks for boundaries through mid-wicket after getting off the mark with two cover drives for four.

He brought up his fourth Test century with a drop-and-run off Kasun Rajitha, taking a load of pressure off Australia's otherwise barren top order in the process.

The century also sets up a shootout with Marcus Harris over the next six months of first-class cricket, assuming David Warner returns from his ban for the Ashes.

Despite debuting in 2014-15 at No.6 for Australia, Burns sees himself solely as an opener.

"I think if you do open the batting, you're well equipped to bat in multiple positions but, to be honest, to get picked for Australia - it's on the back of my runs for Queensland," Burns said.

"I've always said that I think you need to be committed to being an opener."

"Whatever's put in front of me, I just try and work as hard as I can at training and be as well prepared as possible and, for the last few years, it's as an opening batter."

Head looks a certainty for the Ashes squad with four scores above 50 this summer.

He cut extremely well - with eight of his 21 boundaries coming through point - while he brought up his century when he danced down the wicket to Dilruwan Perera and whacked him to the boundary.

His downfall came when he was trapped lbw by Vishwa Fernando (3-99), but not before he and Burns had combined for the team's highest partnership against Sri Lanka in Australia.

Sri Lanka were their own worst enemies, dropping Burns and Patterson once each and Head twice - all from relatively simple chances at Test level.

But still, the pair's runs came after Harris, Marnus Labuschagne and the out-of-form Usman Khawaja failed to impress in their last Tests before England.

Harris was out for 11 when he drove Fernando to point, Khawaja for a third-ball duck when his feet failed to move edging the same bowler, before Labuschagne nicked off to debutant Chamika Karunaratne for six.

AAP


AAP




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