Australia are nearing a victory in the first of the two-match Test series against New Zealand, at the Optus Perth Stadium. Kane Williamson and his men have been set a target of 468 runs to win on the fourth day, after the home side declared for 217/9, with Burns and Labuschagne making 50 each; while Neil Wagner picked a five-wicket haul.
This day-night Test match will also be remembered for injuries, especially to the debutant Lockie Ferguson, who managed just 11 overs before going off the field and later scans revealing damage to his right calf. The trend continued as Australia’s pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood also pulled up with a hamstring problem just 1.2 overs of his spell despite picking a wicket. He was taken for scans and the results that came were not encouraging at all.
Scans revealed a low-grade tear to the right-handed pacer’s hamstring and Australia coach Justin Langer officially ruled paceman Josh Hazlewood out of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Langer also named a few replacements for Hazlewood for the upcoming Test match, while the lanky pacer will now face the race against time in order to get fit for the New Year’s Test in Sydney from January 3.
Siddle possible replacement for Josh Hazlewood
While there was no particular replacement named by the coach, James Pattinson and Michael Neser are the reserve fast bowlers in the squad; but Langer mentioned the name of Peter Siddle as a potential replacement. “Without doubt, ‘Patto’ (Pattinson) and Michael Neser, they’ll be in the squad 100 percent and we’ll look whether we replace Josh with another fast bowler.
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. We’ll see what happens the rest of this game and then make a decision.” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Langer also said that the selection panel will be considering Mitchell Marsh as well if he is 100% fit. Marsh had broken his hand earlier during the Sheffield Shield summer. Meanwhile, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting felt that with Hazlewood out of the next Test, James Pattinson should be the obvious choice to replace him.
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