Aussie cricket the great Matthew Hayden says Travis Head’s heroism in the third Test triumph over India proves the selectors were wrong in dropping him for the series opener. The header hit a game-breaking 49 on 53 ball in Round 2 at Indore, to help Australians clinch the third test.
The win not only saved Australia from the prospect of an embarrassing series defeat, but also secured them a place in the World Test Championship final in June at The Oval in London. Head’s contribution to Indore was vital, and he was one of the few shining sparks in the second test, having been sensationally dropped for the first test.
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The ax to the head for the first game was described by many cricket fans as “ridiculous”with his teammate from South Australia, Chad Sayyers calls it a ‘fucking disgrace’ at the time. Speaking on Fox Cricket, Hayden lamented that Australia failed to pick their best side for the opening game and wondered how things could have turned out differently if they had.
“Australia just didn’t play their best team (in the first test) – Travis Head should have been pretty much the No. 1 pick in that team,” Hayden said. “He was brilliant last (Australian) summer. No matter what happened a few years ago, he was fine!
“(He) needed to play this (first) test. And now it shows exactly why you choose it. He has wonderful scoring intention, his strike rate is huge. Gets that momentum and belief in the batting locker room. He is a mover and shaker.
Head entered the Indian series with an average of 87.50 in the previous five Tests for Australia and was the team’s combined top scorer for games against the West Indies and South Africa in Australia. However, it was the southpaw’s lean form overseas – where he averaged under 22 – that ultimately saw Head overlooked in favor of Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb in India.
The story continues
With Renshaw scoring 0 and 2 in the first test, Head was recalled for the second test in Delhi where he scored 12 in the opening innings while batting down the middle order. He was then forced to open in place of the concussed David Warner, who had the top score with 43 carries on 46 balls before enjoying another impressive shot to the top in Round 2 at Indore.
Former Aussie Test star Brad Haddin says Head showed great maturity to patiently watch the deadly rotation of Indian star duo Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, before taking the home attack to get Australia across the line. “He was five on 24 balls,” Haddin said. “Then he trusted his technique, then he sped up.”
Head’s efforts with the bat in treacherous conditions in the second Test in Delhi and the third game in Indore were enough for fans to agree with Hayden’s assessment. Many fumed that the 29-year-old hitter was dropped in the first place and insisted the selectors had a lot to answer for after Head’s emphatic statement.
Australia hope to end the series on a high
The Aussie players now look to the fourth test at the 132,000 capacity Narendra Modi Stadium, which starts on Thursday. The Australian squad flies to Ahmedabad on Monday without a captain Pat Cummins, who is expected to miss his second straight game after flying to Sydney to be with his sick mother in hospice care, who has been placed in hospice care.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey said the team were extremely proud to have won what was only Australia’s second victory in their last 17 Tests in India. He says that even if the Aussies can no longer reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, leaving the subcontinent with the series squared at 2-2 would be an incredible achievement.
“I think the resilience after the first two games where it didn’t go to plan, but we played good periods of cricket, we had opportunities to win, so we never lost faith in that. . It’s a game here and we want to back that up and end this series in a really positive way.
“If we can win two tests here, we know how special it will be. So we are excited, we were happy with the result but we are still focused on the fact that there is another game to play.
with the AAP
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