Travis Head backs Australia’s bowlers to surprise England

Head made a century as Australia completed its preparations with a 101-run win over Middlesex at Lord’s on Saturday.

“It depends if we bowl the way we have... We’ll find that out pretty quickly, what’s a good score,” Travis Head told reporters after Saturday’s match. (File Photo)   -  AP

Australia batsman Travis Head is confident that a new-look bowling attack will have the “firepower” to trouble England in the upcoming one-day international series. Head made a century as Australia completed its preparations with a 101-run win over Middlesex at Lord’s on Saturday.

Despite his 106, Australia was held to a total of 283 for six. It was the second time in two warm-up games it had failed to reach the benchmark score of 300, having made 277 for nine against Sussex at Hove in its tour-opener on Thursday.

However, it still beat Sussex by 57 runs and the bowlers were even more dominant against Middlesex, which slumped to 182 all out with nine overs to spare.

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Middlesex was, however, without star batsman Eoin Morgan as the England 50-over captain is leading the national side in a lone one-day international against Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday. World Cup-holder Australia suffered a 4-1 series loss at home to England, now top of the global ODI standings, earlier in 2018.

The tourist will likely need to raise its game when a five-match series with England starts across London at The Oval on Wednesday, but Head was unconcerned by its recent failure to break the 300 barrier.

“It depends if we bowl the way we have... We’ll find that out pretty quickly, what’s a good score,” Head told reporters after Saturday’s match.

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“The last two games have been good enough. We were under the pump at Hove, but we were pretty clinical in the way we went about it here,” the South Australian added.

The 24-year-old opened the batting on Saturday, with Australia having arrived in England without regular opener David Warner and former captain Steve Smith after the pair were given year-long bans for their roles in March’s ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.

As well as the two-star batsmen, Australia is also without its injured Ashes-winning fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood for this white-ball only tour.

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‘Nasty in the nets’

Nevertheless, Head backed pacemen Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye to fill the void. “They are all nasty in the nets, both Richardsons, Billy, even Nes (Michael Neser) can bowl quite sharply,” he said.

“We’ve got firepower and the control on that side, mix that with A.J. Tye, he’s got unbelievable skills at the back end with (left-arm spinner) Ashton Agar, who is bowling as well as he probably has in his career. If the guys can be consistent as they have been and the pace is up, it’s always a hard task to face them,” Head added.

For the second match in a row, Australia saw its run-rate slow when the spinners came on. “We were a bit slow, they bowled quite well so credit to them,” said Head, who spent the early part of the English season with Midlands county Worcestershire.

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Head said that Australia knew what to expect from England which, under the guidance of Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, has adopted a far more aggressive approach to ODI cricket since a first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup, where Australia beat co-host New Zealand in the final.

“They won’t change. We didn’t play as well as we would have liked in Australia and they played quite well. They are pretty set in the way they go about things, so I guess that’s great for us in terms of planning,” he insisted.