Glenn Maxwell could make a shock return to Test cricket next week after the injury-plagued Australians added the clean-ball star to their squad to face Sri Lanka.
With Travis Head in doubt and Ashton Agar all but ruled out of the Test series opener in Galle on Wednesday, Maxwell is in the game to wear his Baggy Green for the first time in five years.
Head, who was named Men’s Ashes player earlier this year, suffered a hamstring injury earlier this week in the ODI series while Agar suffers a lateral strain and identified the second test (also at Galle) as an earliest possible return date.
Along with Maxwell, Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis are the other options to fill Head’s No. 5 spot if the southpaw doesn’t return to fitness in time.
Jon Holland, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy will all remain in Sri Lanka “to help with preparations for the test match and to develop their experience in subcontinent conditions”, although none of this spin bowling trio have yet been added to the team.
Maxwell’s recall is a show of confidence in his ability against spin bowling given he hasn’t played a top class game in two years and eight months amid his large limited commitments.
The 33-year-old’s four tests came to the subcontinent and previously said he understood why he initially missed out on selection for the Sri Lanka series.
“I know it’s specific to my skills and the way I play slow bowling, especially in those conditions, it could have been something to sway (the selectors),” Maxwell told cricket.com. earlier this month.
“But I think the way they trusted their current team is brilliant.
“It’s good that the door isn’t closed, but I also thought it was good that they trusted this team.”
The Dutchman three, Kuhnemann and Murphy played for Australia A on their simultaneous tour of Sri Lanka, while Kuhnemann was promoted to the ODI side for their final three games following Agar’s injury.
It would appear the selectors are keeping their options open given question marks over Hagar’s precise return date and whether a finger spinner would be preferable to incumbent Mitchell Swepson’s leg spin.
Australia looks certain to field at least two spinners on what they expect to be tight cornering surfaces. Swepson teamed up with Nathan Lyon in Pakistan earlier this year, but Holland or Kuhnemann could be in the game if the tourists want a left arm finger spinner.
At 21 and with just three first-class games to his name, Murphy is younger and less experienced than the other two and the fact he spins the ball the same way at Lyon seems to put him further back in the calculations.
Both Maxwell and Head also have a handy bowl off right arm rotation.
Holland played the last of his four Tests in the United Arab Emirates four years ago and was flown in as Kuhnemann’s replacement in the A team following the Queenslander’s promotion from the ODI side.
The 35-year-old got off to a slow start at Hambantota in the current four-day game against Sri Lanka A, rising to almost five-plus in the first set, before taking two scalps in the second set of 22 overs Thursday.
Kuhnemann meanwhile impressed white-ball captain Aaron Finch.
“The way he thinks about the game, the plans he has and the confidence in his own abilities is really impressive,” Finch said of the 25-year-old who came close to picking up a remarkable one-man win. wicket against Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI this week.
“I didn’t know he had a trick (shot) until the other day when he took it out with a few points to win. He’s a lovely guy who tries his heart, he’s brilliant on the pitch .
“With Queensland you don’t play a huge amount of spinning wickets, so for him to keep playing wickets that offer a bit of assist, that will continue to make him grow.”
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
June 7: Australia won the first T20 by 10 wickets
June 8: Australia won the second T20 by three wickets
June 11: Sri Lanka won the third T20 by four wickets
Sri Lanka ODI Team: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fan. Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Madushanka, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan
Australia ODI team: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc , Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: Australia won the first ODI by two wickets (DLS)
June 16: Sri Lanka won the second ODI by 26 points (DLS)
June 19: Sri Lanka won the third ODI by six wickets
June 21st: Sri Lanka won the fourth ODI by four points
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
Sri Lanka Test Team (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Kumara, Kasun Rajitha , Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Australia Test Team: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson , David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First test, Galle, 2:30 p.m. AEST
July 8-12: Second test, Galle, 2:30 p.m. AEST
All of Sri Lanka’s international matches against Australia will be shown live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports
Australia A calendar
Australia A team: Scott Boland, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Nathan McAndrew, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
Sri Lanka One Day Team: Dhananjaya de Silva (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Udara, Lasith Croospulle, Oshada Fernando, Pabasara Waduge, Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Janitha Liyanage, Sahan Arachchi, Pulina Tharanga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan at injury), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Nishan Madushka, Ashen Daniel, Nisala Tharaka
June 8: Australia Won by seven wickets
June 10: Sri Lanka Won by four wickets
June 14-17: Australia Won by 68 runs
June 21-24: four-day match against Sri Lanka A, Hambantota