Bengaluru, Feb 5 (IANS): Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of Australia's first Test against India, starting from February 9 in Nagpur, due to a left Achilles niggle. Hazlewood now joins Mitchell Starc (missing the first Test due to a finger injury) and all rounder Cameron Green (unlikely to bowl due to an injured finger) in Australia's injury list.
The short three-day gap between the first two Tests means Hazlewood is also a doubtful starter for the second match in New Delhi from February 17-21. His injury means pacer Scott Boland is in pole position to play his first Test abroad, with uncapped tearaway quick Lance Morris also an option.
Hazlewood was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au that said soggy patches in the outfield of the Sydney Cricket Ground while running in to bowl against the South Africa batters had caused the niggle and added that he will only resume bowling two days before the start of Nagpur Test.
"It's still lingering from the (Sydney) Test match. We obviously bowled after a lot of rain and the jump-offs were quite soft, where we were taking off from and they ended up replacing them as well."
"It sort of worked to a degree, but just that extra load jumping off a soft ground to bowl and again the first Test match (back from injury) your body is not used to that sort of workload as well."
"I was bowling a fair bit leading into the (India) tour at home and sort of just pushing up against it. It probably wasn't recovering as well as I would have liked between each session. So thought we'd give it a few days here straight of the bat and try and get over the hump and have a bowl from Tuesday and hope it goes well."
Boland has played six Tests for Australia since his debut in the Boxing Day Test in the Ashes at the MCG and has picked 28 wickets at an average of 12.21 and strike rate of 33.2. All of those Tests have come at home and in all likelihood, Nagpur will be his first Test outside of Australia.
"Scotty has bowled plenty at the MCG when it was a flat wicket, it probably wasn't swinging or reverse swinging so he knows how to work hard for a long period of time. You've got Lance Morris who has worked hard on reverse swing for the last month and then a nice lead in here with a few sessions. The guys are excited first of all to play in the subcontinent, they both haven't yet, but they're very well qualified to do so," added Hazlewood.
Australia will finish their preparatory camp at Alur, Bengaluru on Sunday, and will fly to Nagpur on Monday ahead of the first Test starting from Thursday. India are the current holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the last three series against Australia in 2017, 2018-19 and 2020-21, while Australia last won a Test series in India in 2004.