Brisbane, Dec 9 (IANS) Former Australia captain Mark Taylor said that left-handed batter Travis Head looked a better player on the leg-side during his unbeaten knock of 112 at day two of the first Ashes Test at The Gabba on Thursday. Head reached his maiden Ashes hundred off just 85 balls with a drive past mid-on off Chris Woakes, recording the third-fastest hundred in Ashes history after Adam Gilchrist in 2006 and Gilbert Jessop in 1902.
His onslaught in the final session of day two helped Australia take a 196-run lead heading to stumps over a weary and sore England. The 27-year-old Head also justified his selection over Usman Khawaja for the last specialist batters’ spot in the first Ashes Test. During his unbeaten knock, Head was prolific in the mid-on region, getting 22 runs.
“He looks a better player on the leg side. Normally left-handers are very good leg-side players, but he looks to me like he’s playing a little straighter, a bit more towards mid-on for that ball on leg stump, which is a good sign,” Taylor was quoted as saying by Wide World of Sports.
“He generally tends to open up almost too much with that upper body and plays across his body a little bit and plays too square on the leg side.
“Even the ball he brought up his century with, he punched down the ground through mid-on. If he can keep doing that, he’ll be a better player,” added Taylor, who played 104 Tests for Australia.
The 57-year-old was appreciative of Head’s aggressive approach in the final session, stalling England’s chances of making a late comeback in the match. “It was a vital time for Australia because they were in front in the game, but they needed someone to kick them onto 300. They didn’t need to get bogged down at that time, they needed to keep England under pressure even though they were fighting back.”
“I always felt like if Australia could get a lead of 100-150 that they were going to be hard to beat, but with his knock and scoring so quickly and being so aggressive they’re now at a lead of nearly 200. It’s been great for the team and it’s been great for Travis Head because he’s now cemented his spot for the summer, which is a real tick for him and a real plus for Australian cricket.”
Taylor signed off by saying that Head will have to be prepared for tougher challenges in future at number five. “Batting at No.5, you have to be versatile. He could come in at 3-30 and then you might have to play slightly differently, but as a top-order player those are the situations you’ve got to adapt to. He’s shown that he can be that aggressive player, but the next step will be if or when he does come in at 3-30, to see if he can maneuver his way through a little tough period and still flourish.”