Cricket Australia has named 26 players in a squad for a possible limited-overs tour of England later this year, which includes an uncapped trio.
No stranger to batting under pressure, a relaxed Travis Head is confident of stepping up in his final chance to secure a Test recall.
Australia A’s Test batting hopefuls will likely only get one bite at the cherry after Pakistan batted through the opening day of their three-day tour match in Perth.
A declaration is likely to come early on day two after Babar Azam (157no) and Asad Shafiq (119no) lifted the tourists to 3-336 at stumps in the day-night match.
Head was Australia’s vice-captain during the Ashes but that didn’t spare him from being axed for the deciding fifth Test at The Oval.
The left-hander’s century against a Josh Hazlewood-led NSW attack in the last Sheffield Shield round has put him in the box seat to edge out talented youngster Will Pucovski for the middle-order vacancy in Australia’s Test side.
Head’s ability to keep his cool in pressure situations was evident when he made his Test debut against Pakistan last year in Dubai, where a depleted Australia pulled off a miraculous draw while chasing a monster target of 462.
A crushing defeat had appeared inevitable when Australia crumbled to 3-87, losing all three of Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh without adding a run.
But a calm and collected Head combined with Usman Khawaja in a pivotal fourth-wicket partnership to help save Australia from defeat.
“Different pressures, different times you have to bat under different circumstances, that’s why you play the game,” Head told reporters after stumps on Monday.
“You want to do well on these sort of days and these sort of games.
“I’m pretty relaxed at the minute. I think everyone’s done the work – we trained exceptionally well yesterday and all the batters got what they needed.
“The pressure of tomorrow is no different than the pressure of a Test match or the pressure of anytime you need to go out and get runs.”
National coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns will sit down on Wednesday to pick their squad for the first Test, with Khawaja, Marcus Harris and Joe Burns competing to open the batting alongside David Warner.