Australia were dealt a huge last-minute blow as Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the second Test match in Adelaide. Michael Neser who was added to the squad earlier in the week and has now taken his place alongside Scott Boland. As things stand, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first in the Adelaide Test while they lead 1-0 in the Test series. The Aussies are already without skipper Pat Cummins, and this comes as a huge blow.
With captain Pat Cummins already ruled out with a quad complaint, Hazlewood will also sit out the contest due to ‘general soreness’. Michael Neser has joined Scott Boland in being recalled for the second Test in Adelaide after Hazlewood was a late scratching for the day-night clash with West Indies.
Neser was marking out his run-up out before play on Thursday afternoon, with a team spokesperson confirming Hazlewood would miss following a heavy workload during the Perth Test.
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It is a remarkably similar situation to the one Australia found themselves before last year 's Adelaide Test against England, when both Cummins (COVID-19 close contact) and Hazlewood (injury) also missed to see two new bowlers brought in.
Neser made his debut in that Test, and has not played for Australia since, while Jhye Richardson was also brought in.
In Cummins’ absence, Steve Smith has taken over the charge of the side as he has previously done. Smith was the captain of the side in the Ashes Test last year when Cummins was ruled out due to Covid-19. The Aussies are currently top of the pile in the World Test Championship (WTC) standings, knowing another win will see them take a giant step toward the final, which takes place next year.
Australia Playing XI vs West Indies: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith (c), Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland