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Scott Boland dream run to continue as Hazlewood unlikely for Hobart Test

Josh Hazlewood.
Josh Hazlewood. Photo: Cricket Australia

Hobart, Jan 7 (MNN) Scott Boland’s dream Ashes campaign could continue in Hobart despite an injury scare on Friday, as Test summer for Josh Hazlewood seems all but over since coach Justin Langer has confirmed he will likely miss the Hobart Test starting January 14.

Boland, who was in line to be dropped for the ongoing SCG Test had Hazlewood been fit, suffered an unusual side injury following a tumble in his delivery stride on day three only hours after another bewitching spell continued his remarkable Test entrance.

The 32-year-old was cleared of any serious damage, and could now hold his spot for the final match of the series in Hobart next week where the Aussies hope to be gunning for a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash.

His competition for a spot looks to now be with Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser after Langer admitted attention had now turned to getting Josh Hazlewood right for white-ball series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka beginning later this month.

“At this stage it is looking like that,” Langer said of Hazlewood missing next week’s Hobart Test due to the side injury he suffered in the series opener at the Gabba.

“Unfortunately Josh hasn’t come up, hopefully he’ll be right for the white-ball games.

“It’s been really tough on him, he has been really hanging out to play in this Ashes series like everyone.

“He has missed three games, so to have one of our premier fast bowlers out of the series, I guess it is a bit like England missing one of their premier fast bowlers (in Jofra Archer) – we’ve missed big Josh.

“At this stage, if I was a guessing man I’d say that he probably won’t play the next Test match but we will wait and see.”

Langer confirmed Boland will bowl either on Saturday or in England’s second innings as Australia look to set the series ledger at 4-0.

Their tilt has been hampered by persistent Sydney rain taking overs out of the Test, while fighting day-three innings from Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes have ensured England have not succumbed as easily as they have in previous Tests.

Boland followed his player-of-the-match-winning haul of 6-7 in Melbourne by exploiting similarly seam-friendly conditions in Sydney, removing star man Joe Root for a duck for the second time in as many innings and opener Zac Crawley in another mesmerising spell.

He then fell over and landed awkwardly on his right side with his final ball before the tea break as his elbow jammed into his ribs, but was back bowling in the SCG nets before stumps having received the all-clear.

“It’s amazing modern technology – he went for a scan just after the (tea) break and we were looking at his ribs on the computer screen about half an hour later,” said Langer.

“So thankfully there’s no fractures.

“He’s going to be sore in the cartilage between his ribs but hopefully he’ll be right to bowl tomorrow or in the second innings.

“Whether it’s tomorrow morning, but in the second innings definitely.”

Whether or not Boland remains hampered by the knock and despite Hazlewood going down, Australia look set to have multiple tough decisions to make for the pink-ball Test in Tasmania.

Richardson and Neser will both come into contention having played in this series’ previous day-night contest in Adelaide, with the former making a strong case after bowling Australia to victory on day five with his maiden Test five-wicket haul.

On the batting front, Travis Head’s return after recovering from COVID-19 may have to come at the expense of Usman Khawaja despite the veteran striking a glittering century on Thursday.

“They’re nice problems to have,” said Langer. “Travis Head’s hundred in (Brisbane) coming back from being out of the team for a while was just brilliant, a great show of maturity from him to play as well as he did.

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