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Ashes 2021/22

‘There had to be more desperation’ – Ricky Ponting and Alastair Cook criticise Rory Burns for not diving in attempt to avoid run out

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Ricky Ponting and Alastair Cook have both criticised Rory Burns for not making more of an effort to avoid being run out in the fifth Ashes Test at Hobart.

England’s innings got off to the worst possible start, with Burns caught just short by a direct hit from Marnus Labuschagne after being called through for a quick single by Zak Crawley. That left the hosts 2-1 in response to Australia’s 303.

Burns’ first knock on Test recall ended with him out for a duck. He was dropped two Tests into the Ashes after managing just 51 runs in four innings, including a golden duck to the first ball of the series.

Batting coach Graham Thorpe singled out Burns in the aftermath of his axing, saying he should consider “a major overhaul of his technique” to win his place back. Haseeb Hameed’s poor form – he failed to pass 30 all series – forced England’s hand, with his dropping meaning they turned back to Burns. Considering this, Ponting was left unimpressed by Burns’ lack of desperation in making his ground.

“I want to make a bit of a point of this,” the former Australia captain said on 7 Cricket commentary. “There had to be more desperation there from Rory Burns. He’s back into the side, fighting for his Test career, and he’s not willing to put in a big dive to try and save his wicket.”

While acknowledging that Crawley was also at fault, Ponting wondered whether a member of the Australia team would have put in more of an effort.

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

England’s leading Test run-scorer echoed similar sentiments to Australia’s leading Test run-scorer.

“The run, I actually think it was on, I genuinely think the run was on,” said Cook on BT Sport. “You just see that little bit of lack of trust with the partnership being very new between those two, and Rory not going straight away. And I’d like to see a dive, the desperation of a guy coming back into the side. You’re absolutely convinced that Warner, Labuschagne – and I hate comparing England players to Australian players – would have been full of dust just to make sure they were in.

“I think Burns thought he was going to get home, but it’s a game of inches or centimetres, and I’d like to see desperation. I think there was a single there, albeit a very tight one.”

The dismissal was Burns’ seventh duck in the last 12 months. His Test average now sits at 30.39 after 58 innings.

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