Steve Smith's comeback in Galle Test comes as relief for injury-hit Australia

Aayush Mahajan

| Jun 26, 2022 12:24 PM

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In what has cost Australia the ODI series against Sri Lanka, their never-ending list of injured players also seems to dent their chances in the nearing Test match. 

Although Steve Smith has confirmed his availability in the first fixture at Galle, the likes of Mitchell Starc and Travis Head are still pretty unsure about their recovery process. Glenn Maxwell comes in as Head's replacement, but Ashton Agar, who could have been a serious threat to Sri Lanka in the spin-friendly Galle wicket, is out of the upcoming Test due to a side strain.

Nevertheless, the Aussies would finally heave a sigh of relief as their reliable batter Steve Smith will be a part of the playing XI for the first red-ball match of the upcoming series. Smith, who missed out on the majority of the ODI leg, asserted that he had recovered well enough to feature in a Test tie. 

"If we were still playing One-Day cricket I would be touch and go, but Test cricket I will be fine," Smith said as quoted to AAP.

"Test cricket is a bit easier (on the quad). field in the slips, won't be doing a great deal of running around in the field. And then, in these conditions, there's not a lot of hard running. They usually have a few sweepers, and it's four or one quite often. So there's not a heap of hard running," he added.

After suffering a finger injury in the first T20I of the ongoing tour, Starc did not participate in any game. The left-armer has got his stitches removed but still tape is applied on the injured finger. The ICC rules prevent bowling with a taped finger, and hence Starc may have to compromise on his spot.

"I like my standard preparations," said Starc.

"As cautious as that would be, I want to get the work done. We have tried to give it as long as we could, because it is in probably the worst spot. It's where the ball comes off last," he cited.

As head coach Andrew McDonald put it, Agar would have definitely been one of the spinners donning the whites for Australia in the first game had he been fit. But his injury has put the team management in a dilemma to choose between wrist spin and finger spin.

"A lot of the suggestions from around the traps is that finger spin tends to work better here than wrist spin," McDonald shared.

"But it's not to say wrist spin can't work.

"We're not as clear if we were to go with a finger spinner (on who it would be) as we would have been with Ashton. But, we feel like Ash would have given us good control, and that would have been a positive for the team if he was selected," he concluded.

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