The No.3 ranked Test batter Steve Smith is set to feature in Australia’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, beginning June 29. However, uncertainty continues over injured Mitchell Starc and Travis Head’s availability.
Smith has confirmed his participation in the first Test against the Lankan Lions in Galle, after quad injury had kept him out of the final three ODIs of the five-match series, which Australia lost 2-3.
“If we were still playing one-day cricket, I would be touch and go, but Test cricket, I will be fine. Test cricket is a bit easier [on the quad].
“I 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 told AAP.
Meanwhile, Starc, who hasn’t played since cutting his finger in the first of three T20Is earlier this month, remains doubtful. The left-arm quick has had his stitches removed, and bowled in the nets with tapes applied. He won’t be allowed to participate in the game with the strappings, as dictated by the match officials, unless the injury occurs again during play.
“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. It’s certainly not to my advantage [bowling with tape on], because it takes away from my grip. “Starc said.
Head continues to battle a hamstring strain, and he could make way for Glenn Maxwell should the need arise, with the latter returning to the Test fold for the first time since 2017.
Left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar too, adds to Australia’s long list of injured players, with him suffering a side strain. Jon Holland and Matthew Kuhnemann remain back-ups to potentially fill in as a like-for-like replacement at a venue known to assist finger-spin.
The two-match series is a part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023 cycle, wherein Australia are placed at the top of the points table, while Sri Lanka occupy the fourth position.