Australia coach Justin Langer confirmed that fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who suffered a hamstring injury on day two of the first Test against New Zealand, will miss the next Test in Melbourne.
Hazlewood pulled up in his run-up while setting out to deliver his ninth ball in the first New Zealand innings. Scans revealed that the fast bowler had suffered a low-grade hamstring tear. Having been initially ruled out from bowling for the remainder of the ongoing first Test in Perth, it has now been confirmed by cricket.com.au that he will miss the iconic Boxing Day Test as well.
Australia will now hope for Hazlewood to recover in time for the New Year's Test in Sydney, which starts on 3 January. In his absence, Australia have replacement options in James Pattinson and Michael Neser, both of whom are in the squad, but coach Justin Langer suggested that Peter Siddle, who wasn't named in the initial squad, might make the cut.
A hamstring injury will prevent Josh Hazlewood from bowling in the Perth Test.— ICC (@ICC) December 14, 2019
Details 👇 https://t.co/pjonLYtEMj
"Without doubt, 'Patto' (Pattinson) and Michael Neser, they'll be in the squad 100 per cent and we'll look whether we replace Josh with another fast bowler," he said. "The obvious one would be Peter Siddle actually. He did a really good job in the Ashes, he's bowling very well for Victoria and it's at the MCG where he's played a lot of cricket."
Australia may also draft all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in the squad for additional cover. Marsh himself is under an injury cloud after having suffered a broken hand during a Sheffield Shield match, and chances of his selection will rest on whether he is able to prove his bowling fitness in early Big Bash League matches.
"He (Marsh) played the last Test at The Oval and we know how good he is," Langer said. "We've just got to wait and see. He's back up and running, he's not bowled much so he'll have to get his bowling loads up and we'll see what happens."
At any rate, Hazlewood's absence will be a blow for Australia as the seam bowler has been in good rhythm. He picked up 20 wickets in four Ashes Tests and followed that up with 10 wickets in Australia's 2-0 win over Pakistan. He even dismissed New Zealand opener Jeet Raval with an in-swinger in his first over during the first Test, before picking up the injury in his second over.
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