Joe Burns was dropped during the Sri Lanka Tests © Getty Images
Shaun Marsh has been ruled out of the rest of the South Africa series with a broken finger, meaning Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson have been included in Australia’s Test squad for the second Test in Hobart, which begins on Saturday.
The injury occurred when Marsh was fielding on the first day of the Perth Test, a re-break of the same finger he injured during the limited-overs leg of the tour of Sri Lanka in August. However Cricket Australia kept the injury in-house until after the match.
This was partly due to Marsh being undecided about whether he was going to submit to surgery that will rule him out of the remainder of the series and put him under pressure to be fit in time for the start of the Pakistan Tests in mid-December.
On Monday, Cricket Australia physiotherapist David Beakley said of the injury: “Shaun re-injured his left little finger on day one while fielding. Subsequent x-rays have shown a similar break to the previous one and he will now require surgery to stabilise the bone fragment. At this stage, all going according to plan, we expect Shaun to be available for selection [for the Pakistan Test series].”
However it was also the product of indecision among the selectors about who was to be called into the squad, a call not made until Monday afternoon when the panel settled on Burns and Ferguson. There is also doubt over the fitness of Adam Voges due to a hamstring strain, while the allrounder Mitchell Marsh is under severe pressure to hold on to his place in the team following a string of underwhelming scores.
Before play on Sunday, the coach Darren Lehmann had denied there would be any changes to the team for Hobart, when asked on ABC Radio by the broadcaster Gerard Whateley.
“Just to clarify, is the squad for Perth the squad for Hobart, as that’s how it was selected?” Whateley asked.
“Yes,” replied Lehmann.
“So the 12’s the 12?” Whateley pursued further.
“The 12’s the 12,” concluded Lehmann.
Ferguson, 31, is yet to debut in Test cricket, and although he has played 30 ODIs and three T20Is, he has not appeared for Australia since April 2011. He has had a mixed start to the Sheffield Shield this season, scoring a century and a duck in two games for South Australia. His longest run in the ODI team took place in 2009, ending when he suffered a serious knee injury while fielding in that year’s Champions Trophy final against New Zealand.
Burns, who was dropped during Australia’s Test whitewash in Sri Lanka, was Man of the Match for his 170 and 65 against New Zealand in Christchurch in February – Australia’s previous Test assignment to the Sri Lanka tour. He too, like Ferguson, has one century in his first two Sheffield Shield games this season. In his 12 Tests, Burns, has 872 runs at 41.52 with three centuries and four fifties.
Marsh, who made 63 and 15 in Perth, also had hamstring trouble before this Test series, and had to prove his fitness before being picked for the first Test.
Australia are 1-0 down in the series, having lost the Perth Test by 177 runs after a poor showing with the bat. Fast bowler Joe Mennie, named 12th man in Perth, will again link up with the squad in Hobart.
Squad for Hobart: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Callum Ferguson, Peter Nevill (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, Joe Mennie, Nathan Lyon
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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