Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Swepson to join Lyon in Australia's two-prong spin attack in Galle. Swepson, who made his debut in Pakistan, averaged 133 in that series
Swepson, who made his debut in Pakistan, averaged 133 in that series
Australia captain Pat Cummins has confirmed that legspinner Mitchell Swepson will join Nathan Lyon in a two-prong spin attack even as the visitors wait on the availability of Travis Head for the Test series opener in Galle.
Head, the Player of the Ashes series, was put through the paces in a fitness assessment on match eve having recently suffered from a hamstring strain. Cummins said Glenn Maxwell would take up Head’s spot in the middle-order should the southpaw fail the fitness test.
Swepson’s inclusion in the context of the spin narrative heading into the Galle Test has been subject of a minor debate. The legspinner, who made his debut in Pakistan, averaged 133 in that series in conditions that weren’t as conducive to spin as the ones in Sri Lanka are expected to be.
The caveat however is that wrist spinners have been substantially outdone by their finger-spinning counterparts in Galle, with the former averaging nearly 40 in the last 10 Tests here. Having to make a decision was taken away from Australia’s hands with Ashton Agar still suffering from a side strain while the other finger spinner, Jon Holland, who was fast tracked into the shadow ‘A’ tour, picked up a finger injury.
“We’re really happy with ‘Swepo’,” Cummins said. “He is bowling beautifully and really ready for this one. I think his role here might be slightly different as well. Pakistan we knew was going to be a slow grind and I thought he did his job despite not taking the wickets he would like. He was a really important cog in that bowling engine.
“It’s always exciting having a leggie in the side as a captain. It feels like a real luxury to throw him the ball and see him go about it.”
The Australian captain opined that the challenge of winning Sri Lanka would differ significantly to the one posed by Pakistan earlier in the year with spin and not reverse swing expected to be the major factor. That said, the diktat for the batsmen, especially the likes of Head or Maxwell, whoever plays, will remain proactive.
“What we have been talking about a bit compared to Pakistan is I think the tempo is going to be a bit different,” Cummins said. “There it was a slow burn. Here the game might speed up a bit, and in some ways you might need to be a little proactive and take a couple more risks. I think that will be the main difference. A lot of our batting line up are experienced, they have played in similar conditions here or in India before. It’s nothing new, it’s always a good challenge playing outside of Australia.
“They[Head/Maxwell] are key. I think you saw in the Ashes series in Australia the way that Travis played put the pressure back on the bowlers. Even Marnus [Labuschagne] in the last Test in Hobart. I know as a bowler if a batter is out there fearless and they know their game and want to take it on, it can be tough. Whether it is Alex in the middle, Greeny, Travis or Maxi. Absolutely they have the right to do it their way.
“A lot of our preparation work has been around trusting our own methods. We might go about it a little bit differently to how Sri Lanka will,” Cummins said.