Test fire burns for Joe
Test opener Joe Burns is lamenting not turning starts at the top of the order for Australia into big scores.
If he had he would not be under pressure to hold his spot for the second Test against the West Indies, starting on Boxing Day at the MCG.
After securing a maiden century on his home soil at the Gabba in the series opener against New Zealand as Chris Rogers' successor partnering David Warner, the 26-year-old Queenslander has only scored 98 runs in his five innings since.
Burns, Usman Khawaja, who showed he had recovered from a hamstring strain by scoring 109 for Sydney Thunder in the BBL, and Shaun Marsh, who registered a ton in the last Test in Hobart, are jostling for two spots.
"It's been frustrating," Burns told reporters in Melbourne yesterday of his recent slump. "Because as a opening batter the hardest thing to do is probably getting a start.
"To go on and waste it, to make some 30s and 40s, it doesn't really count for much.
"The satisfying thing is I am getting a start ... but the frustrating part is that with those starts you should be making 50s at least and 100s ideally.
"There's certainly some things I'm working on. The three times I was bowled if you look at them in isolation they were three different errors that caused me to get bowled.
"There's a vast array of errors that you can read into that but sometimes I think it's a coincidence and sometimes you can look a little too hard for ways to improve.
"(But) there's certainly things that day in day out I need to knuckle down and strengthen parts of my game."
Burns made 16 from 16 balls in the Brisbane Heat's BBL loss to the Melbourne Renegades on Saturday, before Khawaja stole the limelight with just the 10th century in the BBL.
"It was fantastic to see," Burns said. "I was really happy for him, he thoroughly deserved it. Certainly very happy to see Usman come out and make some runs.
"I guess nothing changes from my point of view. I just try and prepare as best I can.
"We've got a few days training before the game and I'm just focused training as hard as I can with the view to make sure I'm ready to play. But I've got no control over selection so it doesn't alter my preparation in any way."
The Australian bowling line-up will feature Josh Hazelwood and Victorians Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, who have been joined in the squad by state teammate Scott Boland, who replaces the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile.