Allan Border tips Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne for Test success
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head forged Australia's highest stand of the summer. © AFP

Australian icon Allan Border has put his weight behind the Test pair of Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne as the current Australian team struggles to lock in a solidified batting line-up in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.

Head, 25, was this month named joint vice-captain of the Test team after playing just six matches, and marked his elevation with a career-best 84 against Sri Lanka in the recent day-night Test in Brisbane which is Australia’s highest individual score of the home summer. Labuschagne made 81 in a partnership of 166 with Head, which is Australia’s highest in five Tests. (READ MORE: Australia name unchanged XI for second Test vs Sri Lanka)

Border felt that bot batsmen deserved to be persisted with in the middle order once Smith and Warner’s bans end on March 29.

“Marnus Labuschagne was a shock selection for the UAE wasn t he? It was just out of the blue,” Border told The Canberra Times. “He s obviously got a pretty good technique, he s got a bit of energy and bubble about him in the field, he bowls handy leg-spin which will be a work in progress. He could get a few Test wickets but the main thing he is there for is to score runs.”

Head, already South Australia s youngest-ever skipper, finished the recent India series as Australia s second-highest run-getter with 237 from seven innings at an average of 33.85. He scored two fifties, the joint most with Marcus Harris who made 258 runs.

“Travis Head is getting better and better all the time, a good young lad that bowls some offspin. It s handy when we ve got a few of our young batsmen that can bowl a few overs for you in a Test match, so we re not always in this perennial search for the fifth bowler. That s the formula that works for us and I think we re getting back to that, so that s a good sign. That s the bottom line, there are opportunities for guys that stick their hand up. The guys that are there at the moment, hopefully they fight hard to retain their spots.”

Australia play Sri Lanka in the second Test in Canberra from Friday, which is their last in the format until the Ashes tour after the World Cup.