Cricket-Australia retain Maxwell as Head cover for Sri Lanka tests

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - India v Australia - Fourth Test cricket match - Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala, India - 26/03/17 - Australia's Glenn Maxwell dives to stop the ball. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will stay in Sri Lanka for the upcoming test series as injury cover for middle order batsman Travis Head, who has a minor hamstring strain.

Maxwell was already in the country for two limited overs series, which conclude with the fifth one-day international in Colombo later on Friday.

The 33-year-old, famous for his powerful batting in the white ball game, played the last of his seven tests against Bangladesh five years ago.

Head, who scored two centuries in the Ashes series around the new year, was ruled out of the final ODI after sustaining the injury in the fourth match, which Sri Lanka won to seal the series.

"It's a bit more of a precaution, especially with where he fields," limited overs skipper Aaron Finch said on Thursday.

"He fields in the outfield and the ground is quite heavy. I'm not sure what he'll be like for the tests but he's definitely not available for tomorrow."

Australia have suffered a series of injury blows in Sri Lanka with batsman Steve Smith, fast bowler Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Ashton Agar among those also on the injury list.

Fortunately, Cricket Australia took test, Twenty20, ODI and "A" squads on the tour so have plenty of players on hand to call up.

Spin bowlers Jon Holland, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy will also stay in Sri Lanka after the "A" tour concludes to "assist the test match preparations and to develop their experience in subcontinent conditions", Cricket Australia said.

The first of two tests in Galle begins next Wednesday.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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