Canberra: Joe Burns’ Test career has suffered many disruptions in the past and the opener was taking nothing for granted after hitting a career-best century against Sri Lanka on Friday, the first by an Australian batsman since October.
Burns was unbeaten on 172 on the opening day of the second Test at the Manuka Oval, making him the first Australian batsman to reach three figures since Usman Khawaja’s 141 in the drawn Dubai Test against Pakistan nearly four months ago.
It was Burns’ fourth century and came three years after his last Test hundred against New Zealand in February, 2016.
Since then, Burns was dropped during a woeful tour of Sri Lanka in 2016 only to be recalled for a single Test at home against South Africa later that year.
He was recalled again for one Test in Johannesburg during Australia’s infamous tour of South Africa when they became embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal.
The 29-year-old was subsequently dropped for the Test series defeats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and the home Tests against India before being drafted in for the two Tests against Sri Lanka.
“Look, it can be tough,” Burns told reporters on Friday. “Two very different circumstances, both extreme the way they unfolded, but that’s not just cricket, that’s life sometimes, you can’t plan too far ahead, take the good with the bad.
“It makes days like today — when you get to kiss the badge on your helmet — bloody good, that’s for sure. It makes you really appreciate the good days because you never know when’s your last Test match or when you’re going to be out of the team.
“You can’t take anything for granted, just have a responsibility to play as hard as you can and as best you can and what will be will be.
“It’s just one of those times where you appreciate a good day. You’ve got to do that in this game because you have a hell of a lot of bad days as well.”
Burns forged a huge fourth-wicket stand of 308 with Travis Head that helped Australia overcome a wobbly start to reach 384-4 at the close of play.
Burns praised Head for scoring his maiden hundred and said a recent visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra helped him appreciate the worth of representing the national team.
“I had that sense of your country and how lucky we are to play cricket for Australia,” said Burns.
“And how much you just want to make runs for the Australian people and get the chance to get to a hundred and have the crowd applaud you like that, there’s nothing better.”