Australia consider Maxwell as spin all-rounder



All-rounder Glenn Maxwell remains in Australia’s plans for the second Test against Covid-hit Sri Lanka on an expected turner at Galle, skipper Pat Cummins said Thursday.

Maxwell, a batsman who bowls off-spin, will fight for a place in the team with fast bowler Mitchell Starc as the tourists look to clinch the series in the final match starting Friday.

Cummins said he will announce the XI at the toss.

“Same 12 (as in the last match), we are going to have a look at the wicket today, maybe in the morning as well and see what they end up doing with it,” Cummins told reporters after having a first look at the pitch.

“The wicket may be different to last week,” he said. “Last week we probably didn’t need two quicks but we know Mitchell Starc’s class, so wait and see.”

Cummins said Maxwell, who last played a Test in 2017, will come in “as a spinning all-rounder at (number) eight” if he is picked.

“I thought he was the pick of the bowlers in the one-day series. He was excellent,” Cummins said of Maxwell who took five wickets in his team’s 3-2 ODI loss to Sri Lanka.

“You feel like you can easily get 15 to 20 overs out of him.”

The tourists won the opener by 10 wickets inside three days with off-spinner Nathan Lyon taking nine wickets.

Cummins said anyone getting a game in the sub-continent has an eye on next year’s tour to India, where Australia will play four Tests across February and March.

Starc was the leading Australian bowler with 24 scalps when the tourists were whitewashed in their 2016 trip to Sri Lanka, but Cummins said the veteran quick would understand the team call if he misses out.

“He’ll be fine. It’s purely conditions-based,” said Cummins.

“They know their quality. Mitch Starc was the leading wicket-taker here last time. They’re great team players. They know their worth to the team.”

Sri Lanka have been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak with Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay and Asitha Fernando all testing positive for the virus.

The hosts had already reinforced their spin bowling contingent with the addition of Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage and Prabath Jayasuriya along with all-rounder Lakshitha Manasinghe, who bowls off-spin.

Lakshan Sandakan, a left-arm wrist-spinner who last played a Test in 2018, was Thursday added to the squad as further cover.

Cummins said they have some knowledge about Sri Lanka’s additions, especially mystery spinner Theekshana and left-arm orthodox Wellalage — both of whom await a Test debut after their one-day exploits.

“Two spinners who we saw quite a bit of in the one-day series,” said Cummins.

“Not too much extra planning. We’ll wait and see. We feel like we have been lucky to avoid it (Covid) so far,” said the fast bowler.


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