Australia will miss the services of their key player in the first Test of the three-match series against South Africa. The selectors have named a 14-member squad for the Aussies’ opening game against the Proteas.
Veteran pacer Josh Hazlewood, who suffered a side strain during the first Test against the West Indies last week, will need more time to recover from his injury. Uncapped seamer Lance Morris has been added to the squad as Hazlewood’s cover.
“Pat continues to improve, bowled with freedom on Saturday and appears likely to play this match although Josh will need more time,” Cricket Australia’s chairman of selectors George Bailey said.
Meanwhile, captain Pat Cummins is set to return to the playing XI after having sat out of the second Test due to a quad injury. His return would leave Scott Boland and Michael Neser to compete for the third pacer’s spot in the final XI.
“With that in mind, we have retained Michael Neser and Lance Morris in the squad for this match,” added Bailey.
“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.”
The series against South Africa looms as a crucial one for both teams as they look for place at the next year’s ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Australia’s comprehensive 2-0 series sweep over the West Indies saw them increase their lead in the WTC standings, while South Africa remain in second place.
Australia squad for opening Test against South Africa:
Pat Cummins (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc.
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