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When Steve Smith and his men focused their might on New Zealand in the first ODI at Sydney on Sunday, one RCB batsman – Travis Head did justice to his talent with a fine supporting knock.
Australia beat New Zealand by 68 runs, first piling up 324/8 before bowling them out for 256 in 44.2 overs. The Aussie bowling pack had a good day together with Josh Hazlewood leading the way and Mitchell Starc taking 1/37 and not even having to return at the death. Martin Guptill's 114 received scant support with only three other batsmen making it into the double digits with a highest score of 49.
At one point though, Australia's 324/8 was a potentially troublesome 92/4 at the beginning of the 21st over. That's when Travis Head joined his skipper in the middle, with two wickets lost in the space of 8 deliveries for just 3 runs. He survived an early chance when on 7 and made the most of it with a measured innings, watching his captain bring up a hundred and bringing up his own fifty off 56b to make his first ODI at home a memorable one. Steve Smith went on to make a SCG record of 164 and took a brilliant catch to get rid of BJ Watling to cap his day.
Smith was pleased with the progress Head has made since his ODI debut in the Caribbean earlier this year. "It looks like [Head's] improving every game, he's in good form, coming off the back of a hundred last week in the Shield, so he's playing some good cricket and I'm sure he's going to continue to improve."
Head got his opportunity to play ahead of Glenn Maxwell and his Play Bold performance will make sure he stays in the mix. Speaking about locking a place in the team, he said "I don't think I've cemented it,".
"It's nice to stay in the side and that's what you want to do. It's hard to stay in the Australian cricket side. You've got to always be making runs and always performing. I'm happy with my performance yesterday but it can always be better. If I can keep performing I'll stay in the side and that's what I'll try to do.
"Pressure's always on. In any Australian cricket side you've probably got five guys who are banging down the door that aren't in the side. The competition for spots is always on."
With two fifties in his last five ODIs, it is up to Head to build on his performances. He said for now, playing till the end will remain his objective and the scores will take care of the results.
"I've felt comfortable in my 13 games. It's just a matter of getting a score …I want to win games for Australia, I want to be there at the end. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that yesterday. But I was able to contribute to a win, which was kind of satisfying. Tomorrow, I hope, is a big score or a not out, not [just] another start.
"In the circumstances of the game, just being there with Steve, being at the other end - he did most of the work for most of the partnership. But it was a match-winning partnership I guess."