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More pain for England’s Ashes openers

Rory Burns’ return at the top of the England order has gone the same way his Ashes series began – out for a duck.

After being dropped following a lean first two Tests, Burns earned a reprieve for the series finale in Hobart with the visitors searching for answers against the new ball.

He lasted just six deliveries in the first innings before being run out by a Marnus Labuschagne direct hit attempting a dicey single.

It was five more balls than Burns faced in the first innings of the first Test at the Gabba, where he was bowled around his legs by a Mitchell Starc delivery that set Australia’s tone for the series.

Australia great Ricky Ponting lashed Burns for not showing enough desperation to beat the run-out throw.

“He’s back into the side, fighting for his Test career and he’s not willing to put in a big dive there to try and save his wicket,” Ponting said in commentary on Channel Seven.

“I know it’s not his fault, probably not his call, but you can imagine Marnus Labuschagne in that same situation. He would have been diving from two or three yards out from the crease.”

England have tried three opening combinations this summer and average just 12.78 for the first wicket.

Zac Crawley and Haseeb Hameed produced the most profitable opening stand of 46 in the second innings of the Fourth Test at the SCG, but it wasn’t enough to save the latter from the axe for Hobart.

Burns now has eight ducks in his last 22 innings.

England’s openers were dismissed for 14 ducks in 2021, a record for the team.


Gabba: Burns and Hameed, 0 and 23.

Adelaide Oval: Burns and Hameed, 7 and 4.

MCG: Hameed and Crawley, 4 and 7.

SCG: Hameed and Crawley, 22 and 46.

Blundstone Arena: Crawley and Burns, 2.

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