Head stands up

Aussie bats­man show­ing strong fight­ing qual­i­ties

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - RICHARD EARLE

TRAVIS Head came of age on home soil yesterday, de­fy­ing In­dia with all the type of grit that has greats such as Shane Warne rat­ing the left-han­der a fu­ture Aus­tralian skip­per.

Show­ing the match aware­ness and ap­pli­ca­tion lack­ing from ex­pe­ri­enced team­mates, Head was un­beaten on 61 from 149 balls as In­dia re­duced Aus­tralia to 7-191 at stumps on day two of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Aus­tralia fell to 4-87 be­fore Head’s in­ter­ven­tion.

The South Aus­tralian, play­ing 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,” Head told Fox Cricket. “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.”

There had been calls for Head to be dropped de­spite a match-sav­ing 132-run stand on de­but with Us­man Khawaja against Pak­istan in the first Test in Dubai be­cause of In­dian spin­ner Ravi Ash­win’s hold over left-han­ders.

Head 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 on day one and it was Head who stepped up for Aus­tralia.

Head stripped back his tech­nique dur­ing a Bri­tish county cricket stint with Worces­ter­shire in May, learn­ing to tem­per nat­u­ral stroke play with pa­tience and a for­ti­fied for­ward de­fence.

All the work with a range of men­tors in­clud­ing Chris Rogers, 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.

Rogers’ work on cor­rect­ing Head’s bat­ting an­gles proved in­struc­tive.

“It was a ter­rific in­nings, came in at 4-87,’’ Warne said on Fox Cricket. “He had a big job to do. He eas­ily looked the best bats­man Aus­tralia have had (to­day).

“First Test match on your home venue, it means a lot with your friends and fam­ily.

“We talk about av­er­ages but one of the things the stats don’t tell you is when they get your runs. What a time for Travis Head to get 50. It was the way he played too. It shows he has some­thing.”

Warne noted there had to be a rea­son why Head was ap­pointed South Aus­tralia’s youngest skip­per at 21.

“He has some­thing about him,” Warne said.

Pic­ture: AFP PHOTO

Aus­tralia's Travis Head played a strong hand for the hosts to keep them within reach­ing dis­tance of In­dia’s first dig to­tal.

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