Josh Hazlewood’s Ashes series appears over, with coach and selector Justin Langer casting extreme doubt over the paceman’s availability for the fifth Test in Hobart.
The hosts also have concerns over the fitness of new sensation Scott Boland, who hurt his ribs after a crashing to the turf on the final ball before the tea break on the third day.
A side strain which Cricket Australia initially described as minor is now likely to cost Hazlewood four prized Ashes Tests. It will be about seven weeks between games for his country if he returns in time for the start of the white-ball leg of the season later his month.
While there are suggestions Hazlewood underwent scans before the Sydney Test, CA had said on Friday afternoon an assessment on his fitness would not be made until after this game. But Langer said after the day’s play Hazlewood was unlikely to make it to the line for the final game of the series.
“Unfortunately, Josh hasn’t come up. Hopefully be right for the white-ball games,” Langer said.
“At this stage, it’s looking like that. It’s been really tough on him, he’s been really hanging out to play this Ashes series like everyone.
“If I was a guessing man, I’d say that he probably won’t play the next Test match, but we’ll wait and see.”
Boland did his hopes for a third appearance in the baggy green no harm with two wickets during a scintillating burst by the Australian attack in the first session when England crumbled to be 4-36.
But the Victoria seamer suffered an injury setback when he injured his ribs in a fall the last ball before tea. Scans have cleared him of serious damage but there is doubt whether he can bowl again in the first innings. Langer was adamant he would be fit to bowl in England’s second innings.
“When he fell over or slipped over, his elbow jammed into his side,” Langer said. “He’ll be sore in the cartilage between his ribs but, hopefully, he’ll be fine tomorrow morning and in the second innings definitely.”
Langer said West Australian speedster Jhye Richardson would be available in Hobart after missing the past two games due to shin soreness, as will Queensland paceman Michael Neser.
Richardson was instrumental to Australia’s victory in Adelaide, claiming his maiden five-wicket haul to end England’s valiant attempt to save the game. He has excelled with the pink ball, taking 10 wickets at 16.5 in his two day/night Tests.
“They’re both going to be in contention,” Langer said. “It’s exciting to have these options with a couple of our players going down.”
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