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Holland replaces O'Keefe for second Test in Galle

Steve O'Keefe bowled just 16.2 overs in the second innings of the first Test before walking off the field.
Steve O'Keefe bowled just 16.2 overs in the second innings of the first Test before walking off the field.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia have named the uncapped left-arm spinner Jon Holland in the playing XI for the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle to take the place of the injured Steve O'Keefe.

Holland was named in the squad as a replacement for O’Keefe, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first Test and is all set to become Australia’s 444th Test cap.

This is the only change to the Steven Smith-led side for the second Test as they attempt to make a comeback in the three-match series.

Sri Lanka on the other hand, are sweating on the fitness of pace bowler Nuwan Pradeep, who is suffering from a hamstring strain.

The hosts are most likely to persist with the three-man spin attack and if Pradeep is unable to prove his fitness ahead of the match, one among Vishwa Fernando and Asitha Fernando will be in line for a debut.

While Sri Lanka are relying on spin to pick wickets, Smith hinted that Australia will be aiming to use reverse swing as their main weapon in the game.

“It would be nice to see the ball reversing this game,” Smith said.

“They (Sri Lanka) are not going to have too many guys that are going to be able to reverse the ball, so I guess that’s a point of difference.

“The guys we’ll have playing (Starc, Hazlewood and Marsh) bowl good pace as well, and that also is a bit of a point of difference.

“Hopefully we can exploit that with their batters a little bit.”

Reverse swing played a significant role in South Africa’s victory against Sri Lanka in Galle in the 2014 season and Smith cited that match to drive his point home.

“He (Allan Donald) said the ball reversed quite significantly from both ends (in 2014),” Smith told reporters in Galle.

“Morkel had it going away from the right handers and Steyn had it going into the right handers, so we’ve got Starc who can do (away swing to right handers) and Hazlewood can do (in swing).

“And Mitchell Marsh bowls good reverse swing as well, so we’ve got the bases covered, it’s just about going out there and making sure we do the right things this Test match.”

With the series currently poised 1-0 in the favour of Sri Lanka, Australia must win the remaining two Test matches, if they are to carry on their winning streak against the hosts.

Australia XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wkt), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Nathan Lyon.

© Cricket World 2016