Jhye Richardson is a big step closer to his Test return after Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was officially ruled out of the second Ashes Test.
Hazlewood suffered a mild side strain during the nine-wicket win in Brisbane.
Hazlewood flew home to Sydney on Sunday but was not officially ruled out of this week‘s day-night Test in Adelaide until Monday morning, paving the way for one of either Jhye Richardson or Michael Neser to break into the Test XI.
The 30-year-old will start his rehabilitation in the hopes of being fit for the Boxing Day Test.
Hazlewood didn‘t bowl on the third afternoon at the Gabba and was sent for a scan on Friday night which showed he was at least fit enough to bowl on Saturday.
But the injury has been deemed severe enough to keep him out of the second Test.
“Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will miss the second Vodafone Ashes Test in Adelaide with a side injury,” a Cricket Australia statement confirmed.
“Hazlewood was injured during Australia’s nine-wicket win against England in Brisbane.
“Hazlewood returned to Sydney yesterday afternoon for further assessment and rehabilitation with a decision on his fitness for the Boxing Day Test to be made in due course.”
Richardson played the last of his two Tests against Sri Lanka in 2019, after which he endured a series of shoulder injuries which required surgery.
He has stormed back in to the Test squad with 23 wickets for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield this season in just four matches, including eight and seven wickets in his past two matches.
The next man in line would be Queensland seamer Michael Neser, who is also in the Test squad but was released to play for Austrralia A against the England Lions last week.
Neser took 5-29 in the first innings to tour the tourists for just 102 before taking another 2-36 in the second innings of the match, won comfortably by Australia A.