Covering nearly 30km in the field in Sri Lanka has come at a cost for Aussie batter Travis head a week out from the first Test.
Australia has suffered yet another injury blow less than a week out from the first Test in Galle with batsman Travis Head sidelined by a hamstring strain which has put him under a cloud for the clash.
Head suffered the minor injury while fielding in the fourth one-day international and was ruled out of the fifth and final clash by captain Aaron Finch who didn’t know if he’d be ready for the opening Test which starts next Wednesday.
With Steve Smith still overcoming a quad issue the only potential back-up batter in the Test squad is reserve keeper Josh Inglis, although Australian selectors have abundant options in the ODI and even Australia A squads also in Sri Lanka, should Head not recover in time.
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Players including Glenn Maxwell, whose only Test hundred came in India, as well as Marcus Harris, Nic Maddinson, Matt Renshaw and even all-rounder Mitch Marsh could loom as replacement options. No-one had yet been placed on standby.
Head’s injury was thought to be a result of a large fielding workload on grounds players have reported as being very heavy, with the outfielder covering more than 26km in the two games he played, with nearly half of that running.
While Finch said the injury was only minor, Head’s Test availability remains unknown.
“It’s a bit more of a precaution, especially where he fields,” Finch said of Head’s omission for the dead rubber fifth one-dayer.
“He fields in the outfield and the ground is quite heavy and he does a lot of Ks.
“I’m not sure what he’ll be like for the Tests but he’s definitely not available for tomorrow.”
Smith was also rested from the final two ODIs after hurting is quad but has been batting in the nets, facing fast bowler Mitchell Starc who should be ready for the Tests after having stitches in his index finger removed.
Finch said the big quick’s wound hadn’t healed “100 per cent” to get him some game time in the final ODI of a five-match series the skipper was disappointed to lose.
He put the issue down to batters not forming partnerships, on spinning wickets which favoured the local bowlers, conditions not too dissimilar to the ones the Aussies will face in next year’s 5o-over World Cup in Indian.
“We’re disappointed with the series not being on the line still,” Finch said.
“The reality is we have been in every game, with the bat we’ve had opportunities to chase down some reasonable totals and we didn’t take then.
“There’s been times when we feel the game has just skipped away form us, but through low risk cricket, which is quote strange, the game seems to be going in a direction then you lose quick wickets.
“When the middle order get starts in every game, is shows the wickets are OK to bat on. But we haven’t maximised those partnerships.”
Originally published as Test batsman Travis Head has suffered a hamstring injury less than a week before the first match in Galle