Australia’s Mitchell Swepson will play the opening Test against Sri Lanka, with touring skipper Pat Cummins on Tuesday calling the leg-spinner an “important cog” of their bowling. The 28-year-old Swepson will partner premier spinner Nathan Lyon at the start of the two-match series in Galle on Wednesday where the pitch is expected to be a turner. Cummins stopped short of disclosing the full Australian XI with doubts over batsman Travis Head who injured his hamstring during the team’s loss in the one-day internationals.
“Just want to see how Travis gets through, so we give him bit more time. But yes, Mitchell Swepson will be the second spinner in the Test match,” Cummins told reporters.
Swepson made his debut in Pakistan earlier this year and was part of the visiting team’s 1-0 Test triumph. He took two wickets in two matches.
But Cummins insists the up-and-coming wrist spinner is ready for the Sri Lankan challenge as Australia look to avenge their 3-0 loss to the hosts in 2016.
“We’re really happy with Swepo. I think he is bowling beautifully and really ready for this one,” said Cummins.
“I think his role here might be slightly different as well. Pakistan we knew was going to be a slow grind and I thought he did his job despite not taking the wickets he would like. He was a really important cog in that bowling engine.”
Cummins admitted Sri Lanka are a tough side to beat on home soil.
“I think Sri Lanka play really well over here, it’s quite different from what we experience in Australia,” said Cummins.
“They are going to pose a challenge but we are up for it.”
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell could return to the Test team after a gap of five years since he last played a five-day game in 2017.
Cummins also lauded the Sri Lankan people for their courage in an unprecedented economic crisis that the island nation.
“I was on a call yesterday and was chatting to some young girl cricketers. They’re down to one meal a day and are going to school a couple of days a week because the teachers can’t get to school,” Cummins said.
“No matter what the result is we are in a really privileged position and there are lots of people that are making this happen for us to have a bit of fun and go out and play cricket. So we are really lucky.”
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