SL vs AUS: Ashton Agar ruled out of second Test due to side strain, Jon Holland named replacement

SL vs AUS: Ashton Agar ruled out of second Test due to side strain, Jon Holland named replacement

Victorian left-arm spinner Jon Holland is still recovering from his injury.

Ashton Agar
Ashton Agar. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Ashton Agar, who was unable to recuperate from a side strain, has returned home early, leaving Australia without a spin bowler for the second and final Test against Sri Lanka. Agar has been replaced by Jon Holland, even though the latter is still healing from an injury.

The Western Australian has had a bad run of luck lately as he missed all matches of Australia’s tour of Pakistan earlier this year after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Agar had an opportunity to partner Nathan Lyon in the Tests against Sri Lanka, but due to his injury, Mitchell Swepson took his position in the team and contributed to Australia’s 10-wicket victory in the first match.

Holland could have had a chance to play in the second Test, but Swepson claimed five wickets and, despite bowling at over four and a half runs per over, he earned skipper Pat Cummins’ plaudits for his style of bowling. When the surface was at its finest on the first day, Swepson removed Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal in quick succession.

Mitchell Swepson controlled the tempo of the game: Pat Cummins

The leg-spinner failed to make a significant mark in his debut Test series against Pakistan earlier this year. However,  those matches were played in Karachi and Lahore on placid, batter-friendly conditions. Neverthless, Swepson put up a splendid show against the Lankan Lions, leaving skipper Cummins impressed.

“I was really happy with Sweppo. A couple of key breakthroughs in the first innings and then [on Friday], top-order wickets. Really valuable. He controlled the tempo of the game, he had some batters come really hard at him. I thought he bowled beautifully,” Cummins was quoted by Cricket Australia.

After recovering from a finger injury, Holland was added to the team. The left-arm spinner was not taken into consideration for Galle Test because of his injury. Swepson is now expected to continue in the combination solely because of his heroics in the previous game that helped Australia win.

Australia might also use three spinners- Nathan Lyon, Swepson, and Holland, in addition to just one fast bowler for the second test. When Cummins, the No. 1 Test bowler in the world, chose not to bowl in Sri Lanka’s second innings after his team thrashed the hosts in only 22.5 overs, it was clear that spinner had a lot of assistance.