Steadfast Head keeps wolf from the door
before South Australian Head’s intervention.
Head, in his third Test, was the only Australian to register a half-century in reply to India’s 250.
“It’s nice to do the job for the team. That’s all I’m here to do. We hung in there in the end. India bowled exceptionally today. We’ve got a really important hour in the morning. Every run is going to be valuable,” Head said.
There had been calls for Head to be dropped – despite a match-saving 132-run stand on debut with Usman Khawaja against Pakistan in Dubai – given Ravi Ashwin’s hold over left-handers.
It was Head, 24, who looked rock solid against prolific offspinner Ashwin, armed with a comprehensive brief from housemate Harry Nielsen who blasted a ton for the Cricket Australia XI last weekend.
Australia lacked a sense of strategy and positivity at the crease with the exception of Head, who absorbed the best India’s inspired attack led by Ishant Sharma (2-31), Jasprit Bumrah (2-32) and Ashwin (3-50) could throw at him.
Chesteshwar Pujara had rescued India in the opening day and it was Head who stepped up for Australia.
Head stripped back his technique during a county stint with Worcestershire in May, learning to temper natural strokeplay with patience and a fortified forward defence.
All the work with a range of mentors including Chris Rog- ers, Jeff Vaughan and Greg Blewett this year paid off.
Head’s first 22 runs took 69 balls, showing the fruits of commitment to a watchful approach over the past six months.
Warne noted there had to be a reason why Head was appointed South Australia’s youngest skipper at 21.
“He has something about him and is someone you can build a team around, a bit of personality and spunk and character about them,” Warne said.