Australia v Sri Lanka Tests

Wiser Henriques craves second chance

Allrounder believes he has the game to succeed at Test level this time around - all he needs is an opportunity

Callum Kanoniuk, in Colombo

12 July 2016, 06:57 PM

Allrounder Moises Henriques believes he returns to the Australian Test squad a better and wiser cricketer as he prepares to fight for a spot in the XI during the Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka.

Henriques, 29, has already experienced the ultimate highs and lows in his brief time as a Test squad member, starting with his debut appearance on the infamous tour of India in 2013.

Less than 12 months later, he was included in the touring party as Australia defeated the top-ranked Test team in South Africa to reclaim that mantle for themselves.

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Speaking in Colombo earlier today, Henriques says the experience gained from those contrasting tours ensures he is more prepared for what Test cricket might throw his way this time around.

"I feel a lot more comfortable around the group and I feel a lot more comfortable with my own game and where I stand," Henriques told during a brief reprieve from the rain that postponed the team's first foray into the nets this tour.

"Going through that India tour was very important to see how tough Test cricket can actually get and how alien the conditions can be.

"The South African conditions are more similar to what we get in Australia, albeit against a very good Test opposition.

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"They're as different conditions as you'll get in India, probably here (in Sri Lanka) as well, so it's good to have had a taste and have that knowledge to fall back on if you're struggling out in the field."

Henriques posted scores of 68 and an unbeaten 81 during his maiden Test appearance in Chennai, but lost his place in the side for the final Test as Australia were swept 4-0.

"After one good Test I felt like I displayed I was good enough, but just not consistent enough," Henriques said.

"That's the biggest thing, to do it over and over again. I certainly feel like I've improved as a cricketer and given the opportunity I'd like to think I can do even better than I did then.

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"I hope I've also learned how hard Test cricket actually is in terms of just backing up day after day, Test after Test.

"You'll see our captain 'Smithy', and 'Davey' (Warner), how they perform Test after Test and they're able to bounce back and just be extremely consistent all the time.

"It's not just about one good performance, you've just got to keep churning them out and keep being as good as you can for as long as you can."

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It was just 12 months ago that Henriques' playing career was in jeopardy after a sickening collision with Surrey teammate Rory Burns in a domestic T20 contest.

After not only making it back to the field during the Australian summer, but also earning a spot for this Sri Lankan series, Henriques admits the feeling of being within reach of a Test return has yet to truly sink in.

"I'm still just soaking it all up at the moment," he said. "It's been a while since I was on tour… it's been a while since I played the longer format to be honest.

"I'm just trying to improve every day and I think that will be pretty easy given the environment that I'm in."

Henriques only featured in four Sheffield Shield matches for NSW last season – one of which was abandoned due to issues with the SCG outfield – until his summer was cut short due to a torn calf suffered while playing for the Sydney Sixers during the KFC Big Bash League.

He returned to action for Sunrisers Hyderabad's successful Indian Premier League campaign, before his surprise selection as part of the 15-man squad for Sri Lanka.

While it's been more than 10 years since Henriques last played on the island nation – as captain of the national under-19 team – the allrounder remains confident he will be adequately prepared should he be called up during the three-Test series.

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"The wickets obviously don't spin as much in T20 cricket as they will here, but the wickets that we train on in the IPL do spin," he said.

"It's a completely different mindset, but they are similar conditions.

"(After the IPL) I was back home for five weeks where I was able to go up to Brisbane and train on the spinning wicket that Cricket Australia has developed up there, which is actually a really good wicket.

"We've still got 15-16 days in these conditions that we can soak up before the first Test match."

Ahead of the first Test in Kandy on July 26, Australia will take part in a two-day intra-squad practice match starting Thursday at P Sara Stadium in Colombo, before another three-day tour match at the same venue on Monday.

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