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Holland confirmed for Aussie Test debut

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016 Will Knight

Five months after he couldn't get a game for Victoria, Jon Holland has been confirmed in Australia's XI for the crunch second Test against Sri Lanka, starting in Galle on Thursday.

Australia skipper Steve Smith announced the left-arm spinner would replace Stephen O'Keefe in the only change from the team that lost by 106 runs in Kandy on Saturday.

O'Keefe has returned to Australia after straining his right hamstring while fielding on day three.

Plenty will be expected of Holland on a pitch that's likely to spin more than the wicket in Kandy where Australia's batsmen struggled to cope with the turn and guile of Rangana Herath and Lakshan Sandakan.

Smith will be hoping Holland can emulate at least something close to fellow left-arm finger-spinner Herath, the veteran mixing his pace and trajectory skilfully in taking match figures of 9-103.

"I had a few chats to him about paces and the seams that work here," said Smith.

"Playing in Australia, the spinners that seem to do well there are the ones that get over the top of the ball, while the ones who seem to do well in the subcontinent are the ones that actually come under the ball and bowl with that side seam.

"He's been working on that over the last couple of days and he's bowled pretty well in the nets. He's got that little bit of extra height, he's quite tall. It's hard to pick up the length which is pretty key in these conditions."

Test selection marks an incredible rise for Holland, who has fought back from three serious shoulder injuries and couldn't get a Sheffield Shield start for Victoria for most of last summer as Fawad Ahmed was picked as the state's No.1 spinner.

The 29-year-old eventually made two Shield appearances and those performances are what got him over the line for his Test call-up.

He took six wickets against NSW and then in the final against South Australia, bagged match figures of 8-162 as the Bushrangers claimed victory.

After some nervous moments when he realised his passport had expired, Holland arrived in Galle on Saturday and will become Australia's 444th Test player.

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