A dejected Ben Hilfenhaus, of Australia, speaks to Michael Clarke after he suffered a side strain yesterday. Picture: GETTY IMAGESAUSTRALIA’S shocking run of injuries to pace bowlers continued yesterday as Ben Hilfenhaus broke down with a side strain on day 3 of the first Test against Sri Lanka.
The swing specialist, from Ulverstone, is not only extremely unlikely to be able to bowl in Sri Lanka’s second innings but is almost certain to miss the second Test in Melbourne, joining other quicks such as James Pattinson (side strain), Patrick Cummins (back) and Ryan Harris (shoulder) on the sidelines.
Australia will resume on today’s fourth day of play on 0-27 in its second innings. The home side holds an overall lead of 141 runs and captain Michael Clarke will be strongly considering a declaration midway through day four to set the tourists a target they feel they can chase down on a docile Hobart pitch.
And with superstars like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and first-innings century-maker Tillakaratne Dilshan in their line-up, the Sri Lankans will be confident of a good performance against an Australian pace attack that is a bowler short.
Australian team physio Alex Kountouris said the side- strain injury to Hilfenhaus did not appear to be as severe as the one that has kept Pattinson out of action since last month’s Adelaide Test against South Africa.
While Pattinson is due to resume bowling in the next few days, Kountouris said he was unlikely to play in the Melbourne or Sydney Tests over Christmas-New Year.
Hilfenhaus’s condition will be assessed this morning and he’s also in doubt for the rest of the three-match series against Sri Lanka.
“It is looking doubtful he will be able to bowl in the rest of the game,” Kountouris said.
“You’d think there’s going to be considerable doubt (for Melbourne).”
Cricket Australia has tried various solutions to keep players such as Hilfenhaus and fellow quick Mitchell Starc ready for the Test summer despite a disjointed preparation that included the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa in October.
Paceman Peter Siddle gave an inspirational performance to claim 5-54 in Sri Lanka’s first innings of 336 in reply to Australia’s 5-450 declared.
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