Sydney: Former Australia opener Chris Rogers feels Shaun Marsh should be the man to partner David Warner at the top of the order in November's first Test against South Africa in Perth. Marsh replaced incumbent opener Joe Burns for the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo last month, grabbing his opportunity with both hands by scoring 130 in the first innings.
That knock was Marsh’s second Test ton in as many matches after he made 182 against the West Indies in Hobart last December. The 31-year-old was dropped for the following Test at the MCG when a fit Usman Khawaja returned to the top of the order and was forced to watch on from the sidelines for another five Tests and eight months before getting another crack.
But having scored more in that first innings in Colombo than Burns managed to accumulate in his four Test innings on tour, Marsh is the man to partner David Warner for the first Test against South Africa in Perth starting November 3, according to Rogers.
“I like Joe Burns and have a lot of time for him, but Shaun (Marsh), in his last two Test matches he’s got hundreds,” Rogers said. “To not get picked would be very difficult for him (Marsh), particularly with the Indian tour looming where you’d back him to be one of the first picked now. “Maybe he’s going to be irresistible (to select), although I wouldn’t discount what Joe’s got to offer.
“He’s still has the ability to learn and get better and get away from those tours and think about where he went wrong. “But perhaps maybe in this point in time Shaun might just edge it over Joe.” Burns struggled to combat the Sri Lankan spin bowlers on the turning wickets the hosts produced, scoring 34 runs in the opening two Tests, with 29 runs coming in the second innings in the opening Test in Pallekele.
One Test earlier, against New Zealand in Christchurch in late February, Burns was named man of the match for his 170 and 65 in the seven-wicket win which secured the world no. 1 Test team ranking Australia surrendered in Sri Lanka. Burns established himself as Warner’s preferred partner this an outstanding home international summer, scoring centuries in Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia’s undefeated Test outfit.
And it’s that form that has his predecessor, Rogers, confident we haven’t seen the end of Burns at Test level. “I think he’s got so much time ahead of him,” Rogers said.