Adam Gilchrist expects Australia to stick with Matthew Wade at the top of the order, alongside David Warner, but feels that Travis Head is now under pressure to deliver, with Will Pucovski fit and available. Head, in both innings at the MCG, threw his wicket away after getting set.
Having only crossed 200 once in the entire series, the Australian batting has come under heavy scrutiny post the Melbourne Test, where the hosts’ batsmen let the team down on a flat wicket despite the bowlers’ best efforts. The form of Steve Smith has been the biggest concern, but in the spotlight is also Travis Head, who has come under fire for his shot selection. Despite getting off to starts in both innings at the MCG, Head threw his wicket away in identical fashion – slashing outside off without foot movement – inviting criticism for being callous.
Legendary Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist does not expect the Aussies to axe Head for SCG, but he believes that the 27-year-old is now in dire need of posting a big score, with young Will Pucovski now fit and available. Gilchrist opined that he can see Australia opening with Wade and Warner for the third Test.
“Matt Wade has made a really strong case to stay at the top of the order by way of determination and fight and that natural characteristic that comes through in his game,” Gilchrist told Fox, reported TOI.
“He hasn’t capitalized on big runs but I think they’ll probably keep Wade at the top with Warner and leave that middle order as settled as they can.
“That’ll put the spotlight on Travis Head – he’ll have to deliver big runs. I don’t think he’s fallen foul of the selectors just yet, I think they’ll show faith in him for at least one more Test match.
“Then if changes need to be made, obviously they’ll have Pucovski there with a week of good solid training under his belt with the team. He’ll be there for Brisbane if they want to make a change.”
Pucovski, who was in line to play the first Test before suffering a knock to his head in the first warm-up match, has been added back to the squad, but Gilchrist feels that the youngster might sit out the series. The 49-year-old reckons that the Victorian has been picked in the squad for him to get ‘higher-level-practice’, and feels he might be a mere cover for one of Warner or Wade.
“My natural instinct is that if you bring someone into a squad, a la Pucovski, you’re probably going to play him. It may not be that certain.
“They might be bringing him into the squad so he can start getting higher-level practice and be fully engaged with the squad and the high-quality training that goes along with that.
“Since his blow to the head he hasn’t really had any other cricket to go and play, so perhaps they’re bringing him in more as cover should something else happen or if they want to play him in the fourth Test.”
The third Test will be played at the SCG from January 7.