In the history of Test cricket, only 14 other players have managed to remain as inconspicuous in a Test match as Travis Head was during the second Test between Australia and Pakistan
The 25-year-old middle-order batsman didn’t get to bat or bowl and no catch came his way either in the five days of the match. A true passenger!
During Pakistan’s first innings of the second Test, Australia’s pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Jos Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ran through the top-order.
However, an unlikely rearguard partnership between Babar Azam and Yasir Shah and later between Mohammad Abbas and Shah frustrated the hosts.
Australia had to try 11 overs from part-timers Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in an attempt to dislodge the stubborn lower order and to rest their premier fast bowlers.
Yasir Shah went on to score a maiden Test century and the tailender’s feat frustrated the hosts on Day three.
Though they did manage to claim a convincing win, Australia should possibly consider adopting India’s strategy of dropping the extra batsman and playing a fifth bowler at home.
Virat Kohli’s team recently adopted a five-bowler policy and have since registered four consecutive Tests by an innings.
With the return of David Warner and Steve Smith and the rise of Marnus Labuschagne, Australia’s top-order has never looked better in recent times.
All three batsmen are among the top ten scorers in Tests in 2019 with Labuschagne leading the charts. Steve Smith has the best average among batsmen this year and Warner registered the first triple hundred in international cricket in the three years.
If at all Australia have the opportunity to add more teeth to their bowling ,this is it.
In the buildup to the series against Pakistan, the toss up for the No.6 position was said to be between Cameron Bancroft and Travis Head.
However, with all-rounder Michael Neser and fast bowler James Pattinson in the squad for the second Test, Tim Paine and Justin Langer could have considered playing an extra bowler.
Ricky Ponting recently pushed for the inclusion of 20-year-old Cameron Green to the Test squad. The Western Australia player who has drawn comparisons to Andrew Flintoff, has had a terrific domestic season. He has registered scores of 87*, 121* and 126 in three of his last five innings in the Sheffield Shield and has managed 28 wickets in 11 games. The 20-year-old can bowl consistently at speeds more than 140kmph and so, Ponting is hoping he would turn up for the national team this summer.
New Zealand, a team with an obdurate lower order and a consistent bowling attack, will arrive for a three-match Test series against Australia later this month.
It will interesting to see if Australia are courageous enough to play an extra bowler or a bowling all-rounder instead of a batsman in the series against the Kiwis.
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