Head stands up
Aussie batsman showing strong fighting qualities
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.
Australia's Travis Head played a strong hand for the hosts to keep them within reaching distance of India’s first dig total.