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Five hundreds in four day batting blitz

Western Australia and South Australia played out a tame draw to start the Sheffield Shield season (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

A text from Australian coach Justin Langer was some sort of reward for Test wannabe Travis Head who was among five century makers in the opening Sheffield Shield clash which didn’t end his team’s winning drought.

Head, the South Australian captain who was dropped from the Test team last summer, carved out an imperious 163 to start his campaign for a national recall in a drawn game against Western Australia on a dead wicket in Adelaide.

Test gun Cameron Green also made three figures while Hilton Cartwright joined the fun with a final day effort of 121 not out, including 22 off one over from spinner Lloyd Pope, before the two teams shook hands at tea with no win for either team in sight.

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Head acknowledged he was the beneficiary of a benign pitch which yielded just 25 of 40 possible wickets and nearly 1250 runs scored by the two teams and was looking forward to his chat with Langer after pushing his Ashes claims.

“He’s going to give me a call in the next couple of days, hopefully it’s good call,” Head said.

“It’s nice to get runs early, nothing is guaranteed. I went away and worked hard, when you come back you try and stay as relaxed as you can and hope the runs are there.

“It’s nice they have come in the first innings of the season. But I have to keep working hard, I know that.

“I’m just trying to start as well as I could. It was nice to get a nice batting wicket, and get in and get runs.”

Head had a difficult time playing county cricket for England during the Australian winter, failing to pass 50 once in 11 innings for Sussex.

Lloyd Pope took some punishment and some wickets against WA (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Lloyd Pope took some punishment and some wickets against WA (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

But he acknowledged how nice it was to be back batting on wickets which were more friendly.

“I had a little bit of a challenging winter against the Dukes ball. I’ve been tested in different areas, which is what you want,” he said,

“I felt it wasn’t far away. It’s been refreshing to get back

“The challenge is to continue to keep going. It does help to get good batting tracks where you can play through the line and I took a couple of bowlers on.

“As I’ve got older and played a lot more cricket it’s about identifying moments and wickets and conditions. I think I put that in good order this week.”

But his efforts weren’t enough to end a 588-day winning drought for the Redbacks through all domestic competitions, with SA’s last win a Shield game in February, 2020.

The draw was the fifth in 11 Shield matches in that time.

“I felt like we got ourselves in a position to win the game, we just missed the opportunity,” Head said.

“We were close and then they played well on a wicket that didn’t wear as much as we needed it to.

“But to take 15 wickets on a pretty tired pitch … we felt half a sniff. We made 500 (492),

“We have been in positions to win game but haven’t. We’ve got a little bit more work to do.”

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