Glenn Maxwell added to Australia Test squad after Travis Head joins injury list

Glenn Maxwell has been added to Australia’s Test squad ahead of the opening match against Sri Lanka in Galle after Travis Head joined a lengthy injury list with a hamstring strain which has ruled him out of the final ODI.

It means the prospect of Maxwell playing his first Test since 2017, against Bangladesh in Chattogram, and his first first-class match since 2019 if he is included for the game next Wednesday.

Before the tour, national George Bailey kept the door open for Maxwell’s return. He has been in good touch during the ODIs with a match-winning unbeaten 80 in the opening game followed by 30 and 33.

“We know Glenn has had some red-ball success in these types of conditions and we’re looking forward to him getting back and playing a good block of cricket through the T20s and one-day cricket,” Bailey said. “If he shoots the lights out or anyone else does particularly well, there’s always going to be opportunities.”

Earlier in the trip, Maxwell said he understood why he was not part of the Test squad but had not given up hope of getting another chance

“A guy that hasn’t played any first-class cricket would be a random pick,” he told cricket.com.au. “I know it’s specific to my skillset and the way I play slow bowling, especially in these conditions, that might have been something to sway them.

“But I think the way they’ve shown faith in their current squad is brilliant. It’s nice that the door’s not closed but I also thought it was nice that they showed faith in that squad.”

Head sustained his injury late in the fourth match and has just six days to recover before the first Test in Galle. GPS data showed that Head had run 26km in the field across the third and fourth matches of the series. The strain is said to be on the minor side, but if he is not available for the opening game next Wednesday, it would require Australia to rejig their middle order.

Maxwell has been called up ahead of any of the Australia A batters who have been taking part in the four-day matches against Sri Lanka which includes Marcus Harris, Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson.

However, three spinners from the A squad – Jon Holland, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy – will remain in Sri Lanka with the Test squad to assist with preparations and to further their development. Kuhnemann has already been part of the ODI squad following Ashton Agar’s side injury and if Australia opt for three spinners during the Tests there could be further chance for promotion.

Holland, 35, who has played four Tests, was a late addition to the Australia A squad after Kuhuemann was brought across to the one-day set-up.

Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc also continues to be unavailable due to the stitching in his finger which he cut on the spike of his boot in the first T20I while Steven Smith, who has been nursing a quad strain, is unlikely to be risked ahead of the Tests.

“[It’s a] bit more of a precaution,” Aaron Finch said of Head. “Especially, where he fields in the outfield, he does quite a lot of kilometres and the ground is quite heavy. Not sure what he’s looking like for the Test matches. Just one more to add to the list at the moment. Starcy is still not right with his finger. Where it is, the stitching is still not quite 100% healed. Without being able to bowl without tape on, he’ll be out as well.”

Australia have endured a lengthy casualty list during the white-ball leg of the tour. Sean Abbott (broken finger) was ruled out before the matches began to be followed by Marsh who has since recovered from a calf strain, Kane Richardson (hamstring), Marcus Stoinis (side), and Agar (side) along with Starc and Smith.

Reflecting on the ODI series, which Sri Lanka secured with their four-run victory two days ago, Finch picked out the fact Australia had not been able to build a big partnership to take them deep into the innings with plenty of wickets in hand as a deciding factor. They have fielded a long batting order in the last two matches with Cameron Green at No. 8.

“Anytime we’ve started to get any momentum in the game, we lose a wicket and in these conditions, once you lose one, they go back-to-back pretty quick,” he said. “Think, just maximising that main partnership where you can get to the 40th over maybe three down, has hindered us a bit.”

After Friday’s final ODI, Australia’s next 50-over cricket will be the series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand starting at home in late August. Unlike these matches against Sri Lanka, those contests will carry World Cup Super League points. There remains uncertainty whether their other home series, against South Africa in January, will go ahead after CSA requested for it to be moved, so they can launch their new T20 league.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

(With Inputs from ESPN)

#Glenn #Maxwell #added #Australia #Test #squad #Travis #joins #injury #list