Bowling crisis looms for Australia

Australia are grappling with injuries to three key bowlers ahead of the second one-day international against India in Nagpur on Wednesday.

Pace spearhead Brett Lee suffered a sore elbow, fast bowler Mitchell Johnson picked up an ankle injury and James Hopes sustained a hamstring strain during Sunday’s first match here, which Australia won by four runs.

Australian team physiotherapist Kevin Sims ruled out Hopes for the Nagpur game and said the other two would have late tests.

”Hopes, Lee and Johnson all underwent scans in Vadodara this morning,” Sims said in a statement issued by Cricket Australia.

”James has suffered a minor right hamstring strain. He will therefore be unavailable for the next match, but is expected to be available for the latter games of this series.

”Lee has a mild right elbow strain and will continue to be treated and assessed prior to the next game.

”Johnson suffered an inversion strain of his left ankle. He will now receive treatment and, as with Brett, it will depend on how he responds to treatment over the next two days before a decision is made on his availability for the second game of the series.”

Lee, 32, has been Australia’s form bowler, regaining his pace and rhythm during the recent Champions Trophy in South Africa after being sidelined for the Ashes series in England.

The fast bowler also played a key role with both bat and ball in New South Wales’ title victory in a Twenty20 competition in India last week.

Johnson hurt his ankle while fielding early in the match on Sunday and appeared to be in significant pain. He left the field briefly but returned to complete his 10 overs and take two wickets.

Hopes picked up the hamstring strain in his right leg after he had sent down just two overs and had to be replaced by part-time spinner Adam Voges.

The world champions have two more specialist fast bowlers in their 15-member squad in Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus.

Australia are already depleted by injuries to key middle-order batsman Michael Clarke, first-choice wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, paceman Nathan Bracken and batsman Callum Ferguson.

India’s Yuvraj Singh, who missed the first match of the seven-match series after failing to recover fully from a finger injury, is expected to take the field in Nagpur. — AFP



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