Right-hand batsman Joe Burns ended Australia’s 113-day wait for a Test century as he scored a ton in the second Test of their ongoing two-match series against Sri Lanka here at the Manuka Oval on Friday. The last Test century for Australia had come from the bat of Usman Khawaja during a Test series against Pakistan in Dubai, last year.
Burns, with the century, helped Australia avoid hitting a 136-year low as the last time they went without a Test century on the home soil over a summer of three or more Tests was in 1882-83, Cricket.com.au reported. Australia are leading the ongoing two-match series 1-0. In the second Test, they have opted to bat first and have crossed the 300-mark on the Day 1 of the match.
After losing some early wickets, Burns along with Travis Head stitched a much-needed partnership to accelerate their side’s scoring rate.
Earlier, Australian skipper Tim Paine won the toss at the Manuka Oval and put his side in on a flat track conducive to batting, a gambit that paid off after some early wobbles. At stumps, they were a commanding 384 for four with Burns not out 172 and Kurtis Patterson, who was dropped first ball, on 25.
Head fell for 161 after a 308-run stand with Burns — Australia’s first stand over 200 since Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh achieved the feat in the third Test against England in December 2017.
Vishwa Fernando was the best of the bowlers with 3-99. On a cool, overcast day, Burns and Head dug Australia out of a hole after they lost Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne cheaply to be in trouble at 28 for three.
After weathering the storm and as the new ball lost its shine, the pair started cashing in on a Sri Lankan attack missing their top bowlers and fieldsmen who put down a host of chances.
“We knew the first hour was going to be tough, bit of grass on the wicket, so despite losing the three wickets we just knew we had to absorb the pressure,” said Burns.
“We also knew they were an inexperienced bowling attack that was going to present scoring opportunities if we got through those tough periods. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and do much the same.”
(With Agency Inputs)