Josh Hazlewood won’t bowl again in the Perth Test, with scans confirming a strained hamstring, but he holds some hope of facing New Zealand again this summer.
The Aussie quick pulled up lame on Friday night when running in to bowl against New Zealand, and immediately limped from the field.
Scans have since revealed the strain, with Cricket Australia’s medicos to monitor his recovery in coming weeks.
The Boxing Day Test is just 12 days away and Hazlewood is extremely unlikely, but he is maintaining some hope of featuring in Sydney a week later if needed.
Australia have James Pattinson and rookie Michael Neser in their squad, with Pattinson likely to be favoured to add to his 19 Tests.
“It’s a bit sore this morning,” Hazlewood told Fox Cricket on Saturday.
“I knew as soon as I did it that there was a tear there. It’s not too bad so we’ll play it by ear the next couple of weeks.
“(I’ll) take the next couple of weeks as they come. It’s a tight series so it will be tough work to get up for the last Test. We’ll see how we go.”
Hazlewood’s injury ends an up-and-down year for the quick, who had missed the Sri Lanka home series in January and February with stress fractures in his back.
He was also overlooked for the World Cup and first Ashes Test, before roaring back to form for the remainder of the series as Australia retained the urn.
He might still be able to bat for Australia in the Perth pink-ball Test if required, but his absence will be felt with the ball with Matthew Wade stepping in as the hosts’ third quick in 40-degree heat.
New Zealand also lost fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, who suffered a calf strain on day one on his Test debut.
The issues have sparked debate over whether possible injury substitutes should be used in Test cricket.
The ICC had approved the use of concussion subs earlier this year, and the rule has received widespread praise for putting the interests of player safety first.
But whether cricket should have a general injury sub is a topic which divides opinions, with Aussie quick Mitchell Starc not expecting one any time soon.
“It took a long time to work out the whole concussion sub one, so I wouldn’t have thought that (injury subs) is anywhere near around the corner,” Starc said.
“It might come into things in the future.
“But I think that’s probably another area where, like with the concussion stuff, they were worried about teams taking advantage of that.
“I think there’s probably too much grey area with (injury subs) as well.”