Travis Head Cleared for Pink-Ball Test After Covid Recovery

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Australia is confident that Travis Head will be able to take his place in the second Test against West Indies despite having Covid since the end of the opening game in Adelaide. Head delayed his arrival into Brisbane by a day to give himself extra time to recover at home but was due to train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday evening at the Gabba. There remains hope that he will test negative before the start of the game, but even if he doesn’t, he will be able to play although there will be some additional protocols in place. “Think he’s almost out of it. He’s fine, feeling good,” Pat Cummins said. “Think he’ll train tonight. Obviously, even if he’s still positive he can still play, there’ll just be a few protocols. But think he’s pretty close to a negative.” Last season against South Africa, Matt Renshaw came down with Covid during his comeback game at the SCG and was kept separate from team-mates while off the field. Head played the decisive hand in Adelaide with his 119 off 134 balls turning around an uncertain Australia first innings into a lead, which was almost enough to win by an innings inside two days. There was considerable assistance in the Adelaide surface and two days out at the Gabba, the pitch had a distinctive green tinge although it may lose some of that colour before the first day for what will be the venue’s third day-night Test. Last year, the match against South Africa ended inside two days and the ground was handed a demerit point by the ICC, but this surface is not expected to be as wild. “The aim is definitely to wind it back from what it was last year for sure but we have to be careful we don’t go too far,” head groundsman Dave Sandurski told the Australian last week. “We want a contest between bat and ball. We don’t want a T20 batathon. We have to find a happy [middle] ground and hopefully we will find it this year.” The early finish in Adelaide meant the ground was left with no Test cricket over the weekend given the game started on a Wednesday. As a bowler, Cummins is rarely going to shy away from early finishes – and has pinpointed the shorter Tests this summer as a reason why Australia’s attack is set to remain unchanged throughout the home season – but he also believed matches where the ball holds sway provide more enthralling cricket. “I’ve played in Tests that have fizzled out into a five-day draw and think everyone walks away feeling a bit empty whereas [have] played in two or three-day matches where everyone can’t take their eyes off the TV for a minute,” he said. “Ideally you want it to go a bit longer than two days but you want it to be a good contest between bat and ball. A couple of the Tests this summer have been fantastic, feels like every session has importance and each side can win.” With Australia’s three frontline quicks all averaging under 20 in day-night Tests, life is unlikely to get any easier for West Indies’ batters. However, one element that may yet prevent a short finish in Brisbane is the weather, with the forecast deteriorating in recent days with significant rain now expected over the weekend.

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