Australia's injury woes continue to worsen as young all-rounder Cameron Green has broken a bone in his finger and will miss the upcoming third Test against South Africa in Sydney which begins on January 4, the Cricket Australia confirmed on Wednesday.
Green was struck on the finger by a rising Anrich Nortje delivery while batting late on the second day of the ongoing second Test against the Proteas and was forced to retire hurt. Scans have revealed that Green has a small fracture to his right index finger and Australia won't take any risks with the in-form 23-year-old ahead of a hectic upcoming schedule.
While Green will bat again at the MCG if required, the right-armer won't get the chance to repeat his first innings heroics with the ball when South Africa bat again in Melbourne.
The all-rounder picked up his maiden five-wicket haul on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test, stepping up admirably after veteran quick Mitchell Starc picked up a finger injury of his own while fielding on day one.
While the severity of Starc's injury is yet to be fully revealed, it is unlikely the left-armer will be available to bowl during the remainder of the second Test and Australia will be devoid of two of their best bowling options. If Starc was not able to bowl, it would place a heavy burden on captain Pat Cummins, fellow quick Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon when South Africa bat again in Melbourne.
The left-arm pacer has bowled and batted in the nets since hurting his finger but while coach Andrew McDonald insisted Starc would be able to play on through the second Test, he admitted his injury would severely restrict his involvement.
"He'll play a role with both bat and ball throughout the course of the game. He'll be limited. His capabilities will probably not be as full as he would like. But he'll be able to do a role for us, so that's a positive sign this morning, McDonald told SEN on Wednesday morning.
"We've got a lot of work to still do here. We've got a few in the casualty ward and that's going to limit our capacity to press the whole time in the second innings," he added.
Green, who was picked by Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs 17.5 crore in the recent IPL 2023 mini-auction, will sit out next week's third and final Test against the Proteas at the SCG to ensure he recovers in time for the crucial four-match series in India starting in February.
The clash against India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be crucial in determining which sides qualify for next year's ICC World Test Championship final.
Australia currently sit on top of the standings and are in the box seat to book a place in the 2023 decider, while India are holding on to second spot following their recent series sweep over Bangladesh.