Following the injury to Mitchell Starc, Australia have been dealt with yet another body blow as all-rounder Cameron Green will miss the Sydney Test and the entirety of the Big Bash League, where he was scheduled to represent the Perth Scorchers, after breaking a bone in his finger. A Cricket Australia spokesperson confirmed that Green has a small fracture to his right index finger.
Green sustained the injury in the dying minutes of the second day, where he was hit flush on the bone by a short one from Anrich Nortje and was forced to retire hurt as a result. It has been confirmed that the 23-year-old will not bowl in the second innings of the ongoing Test, though he batted again on Day 3.
Green’s injury has immediate implications for the Kangaroos. With Starc damaging a tendon on his bowling hand in the first day, the hosts needed the Western Australian all-rounder — who took a five-fer in the first innings — to once again play an extensive role with the ball in the second, but his injury means they will be taking the field in the second dig with only three fit specialist bowling options — Pat Cummins, Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon.
In all likelihood, then, Australia will have to get a good chunk of overs from the part-time spin of Travis Head, leg-spin / military medium of Marnus Labuschagne and the wrist-spin of Steve Smith.
But Green’s injury could also have potential long-term implications for the side, with the Border-Gavaskar trophy starting in roughly 40 days’ time. The balance Green provides enables Australia to field two specialist spinners in the sub-continent; his absence would throw a huge spanner in their works. As things stand, though, the 23-year-old is expected to recover in time for the India series, which starts on February 9th.
Australia are yet to announce a replacement for Green for the SCG Test, although there’s a high chance that they could move Alex Carey to No.6 and field Michael Neser, a bowling all-rounder, at No.7. Neser averages 42.66 with the bat in the Sheffield Shield this season and all of his 7 innings for Queensland this season have come at No.7 or higher.