SYDNEY (AFP): Injured pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood on Monday was ruled out of Australia’s opening Test against South Africa in Brisbane this week, but skipper Pat Cummins “appears likely” to play.
Hazlewood, who has a side strain and missed the just-completed second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide, was the only omission in a 14-man squad.
But Cummins is set to return after also sitting out the 419-run win in Adelaide with a thigh problem.
That means either Scott Boland or Michael Neser will miss out despite both impressing in their returns to the Test arena against the Caribbean side.
Uncapped speedster Lance Morris remains in the 14-man squad as a wildcard option.
“Pat continues to improve, bowled with freedom on Saturday and appears likely to play this match, although Josh will need more time,” said chief selector George Bailey.
“With that in mind, we have retained Michael Neser and Lance Morris in the squad for this match.
“Michael bowled superbly in Adelaide, as did Scott,” he added.
“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.”
Australia head into the first of three Tests against the Proteas from Friday in red-hot form, having crushed the West Indies by 164 runs then 419 runs.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (capt), 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