Australia's Maxwell in line for shock Test return as Cummins ponders more spin against Sri Lanka

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022

Australia look poised to hand Glenn Maxwell a shock return to Test cricket, with the all-rounder in contention to provide additional spin against Sri Lanka in Galle.

The 33-year-old has not played the long-form game for his country since he featured in the 2017 tour of Bangladesh, instead carving out his place in the white-ball sides.

That has included success in both ODI and T20 formats, with Maxwell a member of the Australia squad that won the T20 World Cup last November, two years on from a semi-final finish at the Cricket World Cup.

But after spin accounted for the majority of wickets in the first Test last week, captain Pat Cummins has indicated the tourists may switch to selecting a single frontline fast bowler for the second and final match.

That would likely see Mitchell Starc drop out, given Cameron Green could be utilised as a pace option, and would open the door for Maxwell, who has seven Test caps, to make a remarkable return to the side.

"He'd play as a spinning all-rounder at number eight," Cummins said. "I thought he was just about the pick of the bowlers in the one-day series, he was excellent. You can easily get 15 or 20 overs out of him.

"If the wicket plays lots of tricks, the batting will be the area where you have to find those 20 or 30 runs somewhere. Last week we didn't need two quicks, but Mitchell Starc's class so we'll wait and see."

Maxwell was a late call-up to cover for the injured Travis Head following Australia's white-ball series against Sri Lanka, and looked otherwise set to miss out following the latter's recovery.

The lack of senior red-ball cricket will not be an issue for Cummins though, who feels that if selected, Maxwell could bring great value towards the tail of the middle order.

"It's pretty different first-class cricket here to what you might experience in the Sheffield Shield," Cummins said. "It's a different pace, the wickets are so different.

"It might not be grinding out a hundred, but a quickfire 30 or 40 would be just as valuable."

The second Test starts on Friday. Australia won the first match by 10 wickets.

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