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Sri Lanka vs Australia: Travis Head eyes big bowling role in second Test

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Batter Travis Head said his off-spin would be worked into in Australia’s strategy for the second Test against Sri Lanka, as he did not take four wickets in the first match of the series. Head, a left-handed batsman and an occasional bowler, returned figures of 4-10 to take lead spinner Nathan Lyon’s second innings wicket in the hosts’ three-day thrashing in Galle on Friday. The middle-order batsman was declared fit just ahead of the first Test, when he missed the fifth one-day international due to a hamstring injury.

But the 28-year-old said he was clear about his all-rounder’s role on the turning pitch in Galle before the match started.

“It was a waiting game for a few days before the Test and bowling was a big part of it,” he told reporters.

“I knew I would have a role at some point but two spinners, all the bowlers did a great job for me and Marnus (Labuschagne) was not needed at all.

“It’s going to be a big part of the next Test,” he said. “I was expected to bowl (in the first Test), but probably not at that stage of the game.”

Head was called in to bowl in the 19th over of Sri Lanka’s second innings and the hosts were already struggling at 95-4 after batting with a loss of 109 runs.

The finger spinner hit his second ball after 26 previous appearances to send Dinesh Chandimal back for his maiden Test wicket.

He bowled a flattering off-break to deceive Dhananjay de Silva three balls later, in which the batsman gave no shot on the ball that hit his pads and was adjudged LBW.

Lyon, who took nine wickets in the match, was already rolling from the other end and two goals in the third over from Head bundled out Sri Lanka for 113 runs.

Cummins praised Head’s bowling effort following the team’s 1–0 win by 10 wickets in the two-match series.

“He’s always keen to bowl one. Even the first Test wicket, so he has four wickets now,” Cummins said.

We wanted Travis in the team because he not only bats but also bowls.

But Head insisted that his main role was to score runs and expressed disappointment in the first innings scoring just six before de Silva was dismissed for spin.

“I thought my lead was really good, I just made a mistake,” Head said.

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“It’s amazing all the work you can do in the net… but it’s about going out and emulating that.”

The second Test starts on Friday at the same ground.

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