Joe Burns © Getty Images
Joe Burns registered his highest Test score in the second Test against New Zealand at Christchurch © Getty Images

Joe Burns has batted 16 times in Test cricket. On six of those occasions he has gone past 50, converting three of those into 100s. Burns made his Test debut against India in the Boxing Day Test of 2014. He was out for 13 and 9 but made up for it with twin fifties in the next Test at Sydney. He played no more Test cricket till New Zealand toured Australia in November 2015, at which point he scored 71 and 129 at The Gabba. He has since added two more centuries, with his innings of 170 against New Zealand at Christchurch being his highest Test score. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Australia, 2nd Test at Christchurch

What has been impressive about Burns is his ability to score quickly. His current Test strike rate is 63.20, which is excellent by any standards. In that respect he is better matched to Warner’s brand of batsmanship than his predecessor at the opening slot, Chris Rogers. Burns and Rogers are grossly different players, but Australia would be delighted with the fact that Burns has stepped into Rogers’ shoes well. READ: Brendon McCullum’s 5 fastest international centuries

The major difference between Burns and Rogers lies in their approach. Rogers was more conservative, and did the job of absorbing deliveries while David Warner smashed the bowlers off their line from the other end. Burns has shown the ability to do that as well, but he has also shown the ability to match Warner shot for shot. READ: Rajesh Chauhan: South Africa, Australia have exemplary sports culture; cricketers they produce are natural athletes without exception

In only his second Test, Burns played two vastly contrasting innings to showcase his ability to play either role. Batting down the order against India at the SCG, Burns plodded along to a 114-ball 58 as Australia piled on 572 for 7. With Australia on the look-out for quick runs in the second innings, Burns hit 8 fours and 3 sixes en route to a 39-ball 66. READ: Brendon McCullum among the best modern captains

Those innings came at No. 6 but Burns has done this as opener too; Burns scored a 123-ball 129 against New Zealand at The Gabba but also scored a 230-ball 128 against West Indies at MCG, thereby showing both facets of his game even as opener. READ: Joe Burns: A perfect partner to Warner?

There were growing concerns in the Australian camp after The Ashes 2015 when Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Rogers, Brad Haddin, and Ryan Harris retired. However, the re-emergence of Burns, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Peter Nevill, and Peter Siddle has helped stabilise Australia.

It is still early days in his career, but Burns is proving himself a capable prospect at the top for Australia. His obvious chemistry with Warner at the top of the order could help ease Australia into a new era of Test cricket.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)