South Australian Travis Head has some inside knowledge. Picture SARAH REED
South Australian Travis Head has some inside knowledge. Picture SARAH REED

Head happy being right at home in first Test

Travis Head's designs on blitzing a dream, maiden Adelaide Test have been bolstered by forensic reconnaissance from house mate Harry Nielsen.

Head, 24, made his first-class debut six years ago and was blooded at Test level against Pakistan at Dubai in October.

However figuring in a home town Test holds a special place in Head's heart.

"It is amazing to play a home Test in front of family and friends. I have played a fair bit of cricket here so know what to expect. It is always nice playing in your home state," Head told The Advertiser.

Curator Damian Hough's drop in pitch will offer spice for the speedsters on the first day in a carbon copy of the strips rolled out for recent day-night Tests.

 

Travis Head inspects the Adelaide Oval wicket with coach Justin Langer. Pic: Getty Images
Travis Head inspects the Adelaide Oval wicket with coach Justin Langer. Pic: Getty Images

 

"The Test match is a bit trickier with the extra grass and red ball but it is not too unfamiliar for me," said Head.

"The wicket has been good and as the ball has got softer it has become easier to bat on. You want to do well in every game but is always nice to do well at home."

Indian off-spinner Ravi Ashwin's wicket-taking average is less than 20 against left-hand batsmen in Tests - ringing alarm bells for Australian debutant Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Head.

However detailed backgrounding from Nielsen, who cracked a ton for the Cricket Australia XI against India in last week's tour match at the SCG, put Head's mind at rest.

"We live together so spoke about it the other night. He asked what their bowlers were doing during the game but he will be fine," said South Australian keeper-batsman Nielsen.

Super-star Ashwin leaked 2/122 from overs in the CA XI's 544 total which Nielsen rated an encouraging sign for Australia.

 

Australian Test captain Tim Paine with South Australian Travis Head. Picture SARAH REED
Australian Test captain Tim Paine with South Australian Travis Head. Picture SARAH REED

 

"When Ashwin bowled over the top of them he got quite nice drop and drift and was quite hard work but when he went back to his India style of bowling, faster through the air, it wasn't quite as effective," Nielsen said.

"He got no real turn so I don't think the wicket here will help him much and needs to be a bit more consistent than he was against us to have success in the Test series."

Nielsen, son of former Australian coach Tim Nielsen, was given a spare room at Head's place upon moving out of home three years ago. Providing intel was the least he could do for a "top landlord" who "looks after me with cheap rent".

"They were starting to get a little bit grumpy, fielding for 150 overs wasn't part of their plan. We wanted to tire them out," Nielsen told The Advertiser.

"They bowled really well with the old ball and reverse swing, quite skilful but no real swing with the new ball. I think they bowled too short and hopefully the Aussie bowlers can take advantage. The pace was good but nothing to scare the Test batsmen."

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News Corp Australia


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