Injured Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood was on Monday ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England in Adelaide this week, with Jhye Richardson or Michael Neser in line to replace him.
The 30-year-old suffered a side strain during Australia’s nine-wicket thumping of the visitors in the opening Test at Brisbane and has returned home to rest.
“Hazlewood returned to Sydney yesterday afternoon for further assessment and rehabilitation with a decision on his fitness for the Boxing Day Test (in Melbourne) to be made in due course,” Cricket Australia said.
Josh Hazlewood’s absence is a big blow
His absence is a big blow ahead of the Adelaide day-night Test starting Thursday, with Hazlewood boasting a pink-ball record of 32 wickets at just 19.90.
He didn’t bowl on the third afternoon in Brisbane, although after an overnight scan he did get through six overs on day four.
Australian captain Pat Cummins said at the time Hazlewood was “a bit sore”.
“(It’s) nothing too serious but didn’t want it to turn into a huge injury,” Cummins said then.
Richardson is widely seen as favourite to replace him and join Cummins and Mitchell Starc as Australia’s three-pronged pace attack in what would be only his third Test.
The 25-year-old played his only two Tests against Sri Lanka almost three years ago but has been in outstanding early season Sheffield Shield form.
The uncapped Neser has also been in good early season nick.
Australia is further sweating on the fitness of David Warner who is nursing bruised ribs.
The explosive opener scored 94 in Brisbane but didn’t bat in Australia’s second innings when just 20 runs were needed to win.
Cummins said after the Test that he expected Warner to recover in time, with the experienced Usman Khawaja waiting in the wings should he not be fit.