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.

Related items

  • Foster has 'forgotten about the rollercoaster' with All Blacks on brink of title Foster has 'forgotten about the rollercoaster' with All Blacks on brink of title

    Ian Foster says he has "forgotten about the rollercoaster" after New Zealand hammered Australia 40-14 to stand on the brink of retaining the Rugby Championship title.

    The All Blacks put their trans-Tasman rivals to the sword in front of a capacity crowd at Eden Park, scoring five tries with Richie Mo'unga booting 13 points.

    A resounding victory ensured South Africa need to a bonus-point win over Argentina by at least 39 points to claim the title later on Saturday.

    It is not long since Foster was in danger of losing his job, with New Zealand suffering a home series defeat to Ireland before losing to the Springboks and Argentina in the Rugby Championship.

    All Blacks head coach Foster said: "I've forgotten about the rollercoaster. I'm just happy in the moment.

    "We've come into a championship, we've had, in our mind, the hardest draw by having both tests against South Africa in South Africa, got one out of two in that space, we've let ourselves down in Christchurch [in a defeat to Argentina], but our response to that has been really positive.

    "We look at the last half of the championship and we're really pleased with what went in. All we can do is deal with what's in front of us right now.

    "I know we've got a buffer [over South Africa] – whether it's enough I don't know. But we've given ourselves a chance and that's all we want."

    Foster knows New Zealand remain a work in progress, but he has been impressed with the way they have knuckled down in challenging times.

    He added: "All you can do, in the circumstances you get dealt, is try and find a way out of it and I think we've owned very clearly that we put ourselves in a situation. But I back the group we've got to get through an issue.

    "I said at the time we're going through stuff that none of us had really gone through in an All Blacks jersey and it was hard. We just had to own it and we had to be the people who came up with the solutions.

    "We've done some good problem-solving. We've worked hard, and it's given this team a little bit of steel and it's given us some harsh lessons we kind of wish we didn't have to deal with, but we did.

    "In those situations you either fold and walk away because it's too hard, or you buckle up and get stuck into work.

    "The work of the players has been phenomenal, and we're growing belief. But we've still got some steps to go."

  • Wallabies performance 'just wasn't good enough', accepts Slipper Wallabies performance 'just wasn't good enough', accepts Slipper

    Australia were again left "gutted" after being beaten by New Zealand for the second week running, with captain James Slipper accepting their performance "just wasn't good enough".

    The Wallabies had lost 39-37 at home last week in dramatic fashion, but there was a far wider margin on Saturday.

    The All Blacks were 17-0 ahead at half-time of the Rugby Championship clash after a pair of early Australia yellow cards and never looked likely to cede that comfortable advantage as they ran out 40-14 winners at Eden Park.

    "That's a very disappointing outcome for us," Slipper told Sky.

    "We wanted to come here and perform; we were really gutted with the result last week, and we had a lot of confidence coming in, but the ABs were too good, clearly."

    He added: "I'm just gutted the way we performed. It just wasn't good enough."

    Coach Dave Rennie bemoaned "way too soft penalties" on top of the early trips to the sin bin for both Jed Holloway and Dave Porecki.

    Analysing the match, he said: "We got shaded everywhere, didn't we?

    "I thought the All Blacks' defence was excellent; we had enough ball at times to find a way through and didn't.

    "We didn't defend well enough, and you can't give a side like the All Blacks that much time and space. They're good enough to hurt us."

  • New Zealand 40-14 Australia: All Blacks on brink of Rugby Championship title after emphatic win New Zealand 40-14 Australia: All Blacks on brink of Rugby Championship title after emphatic win

    New Zealand put one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy with a dominant 40-14 victory over Australia in Auckland, leaving South Africa requiring a 40-point win later on Saturday to take the title.

    The All Blacks never looked likely to give South Africa hope after Will Jordan raced home for the first try 23 minutes in, with Australia's ill-discipline costing them as the hosts went in search of a bonus-point victory.

    New Zealand added a penalty try and then three second-half tries to wrap up an emphatic win over their Bledisloe Cup rivals, and simply require Argentina to avoid a mammoth defeat to the Springboks to retain their crown.

    Australia were temporarily reduced to 14 men through Jed Holloway's yellow card just two minutes in, but New Zealand did not get off the mark until the Wallabies were back at full strength, with Richie Mo'unga kicking a 20th-minute penalty.

    The All Blacks finally clinched the first try of the contest shortly afterwards when Jordan powered home after the ball was worked to the right, before Mo'unga added the extras.

    Things quickly went from bad to worse for the disjointed Wallabies, with the All Blacks handed a penalty try and Dave Porecki being yellow carded after a collapsed maul 27 minutes in.

    Although the Wallabies avoided further concessions to go into half-time 17-0 down, the All Blacks stretched their lead when Sam Whitelock went over three minutes after the interval, with a video review sticking with the on-field decision to award the try.

    Mo'unga then added another penalty and, as the All Blacks looked to wrap up the all-important bonus point, a well-worked maul then saw Codie Taylor fall over the line as the hosts went 32-0 ahead.

    Australia added two consolation scores through Folau Fainga'a and Jordan Petaia either side of Samisoni Taukei'aho going over, but the All Blacks richly deserved their margin of victory, which makes them favourites to lift the trophy.

    Resurgent New Zealand on the brink

    New Zealand are on the brink of another Rugby Championship title, which would represent a remarkable turnaround for an All Blacks team which came under huge pressure at the start of the campaign.

    Ian Foster's men have now won four of their last five Tests after winning just one of their previous six.

    If they clinch the title, this would be their sixth success in the last seven years - only South Africa in 2019 have denied them in that span.

    Home comforts reign for All Blacks

    Australia struggled from the off, producing a flat display, and have now lost three Tests in a row in the Rugby Championship for the first time since September 2013.

    Meanwhile, New Zealand have posted five consecutive wins over Australia and have won each of the last 23 Tests between the teams in Auckland. The last time Australia got the better of their neighbours in that city was in 1986.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.