West End Redbacks captain Head, 25, was elevated into the leadership role on Tuesday alongside paceman Patrick Cummins with Josh Hazlewood ruled out due to injury and Mitch Marsh missing selection.
Head, who became the youngest player to captain South Australia at the age of 21, made his Test debut in Dubai last October and has since played six Tests and crafted three half-centuries for his country.
Cricket Australia National Selector Trevor Hohns said Head was ready to step into the role and support Australian skipper Tim Paine.
“Travis is an experienced State Captain who has had a reasonable amount of success with South Australia and the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL. Travis was also Captain of the Australia A One Day team on their tour of India,” Hohns said.
“Travis was an impressive candidate when interviewed during the leadership identification process we conducted last year. He has also continued to develop his leadership qualities since joining the Australian Men’s Test team.
“Travis is a respected member of the dressing room, he consistently demonstrates care for his teammates, provides valuable contributions in team meetings, and embodies the values of the team.”
Australia’s two-Test series against Sri Lanka begins on Thursday, 24 January in a day/night fixture at the Gabba and concludes in Canberra from February 1-5.