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Australia thumped the West Indies in Adelaide to claim a resounding series victory despite the absence of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. However, the Aussies have been dealt a severe blow for the Test series against a much stronger Protean outfit as Hazlewood has been ruled out of the series opener at the Gabba.
Josh Hazlewood was omitted from the second Test against the Windies in Adelaide after complaints of a side strain by the tall pacer. The injury is much more serious than previously thought and has sidelined the 31-year-old from the Gabba Test against Dean Elgar’s South Africa. The hosts are also sweating on the fitness of skipper Pat Cummins who injured himself during the first Test against the Windies in Perth.
Australia’s chief selector George Bailey is hoping for Cummins’s recovery before the series opener against the Proteas but has ruled out Hazlewood from the clash. The former Australian skipper revealed that the pacer needs more time to recover, and the management has decided to retain Michael Neser and Lance Morris in the squad for the Gabba Test.
“Pat continues to improve, bowled with freedom on Saturday, and appears likely to play this match although Josh will need more time. With that in mind, we have retained Michael Neser and Lance Morris in the squad for this match,” Bailey said in an official statement.
We continue to seek opportunities to grow and maintain our fast-bowling experience and depth: Bailey
The Australian team led by stand-in skipper Steve Smith made light work of the West Indies in the second Test despite missing their two bowling stalwarts. Bailey praised Michael Neser and Scott Boland, who replaced Cummins and Hazlewood in the second Test.
“Michael bowled superbly in Adelaide, as did Scott. We were impressed as always with their performances that backed up what they have achieved in the past. Lance is a very exciting prospect who will benefit from time with the squad. With so much cricket ahead, we continue to seek opportunities to grow and maintain our fast-bowling experience and depth,” he added.
Australia squad for first Test v South Africa: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
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